Incidents of Life
by Molly Odegard Nikolic
LitFire Publishing

"Love was alive, its living and breathing forces covered them with a divine magic caressing each with a special tenderness softer than the dew that covers the roses every night."

When Harrison Barkley is offered the chance to translate the texts of Bozidar Arandjelovic’s work—alongside the writer and in Belgrade—he jumps at the opportunity. After getting settled in, Harrison meets Vesna Petrovich, Arandjelovic’s assistant, and the two fall hard and fast in love. But tragedy strikes the lovebirds when Vesna is murdered on the streets of Sarajevo. Now Harrison must learn to deal with his grief and try to move past it, with the only solace being memories of his fiancé.

The story is a sweeping narrative from start to finish, beginning with Harrison’s journey to Belgrade. The author has framed the book in a way that reads as if it is a trip down memory lane, and by relieving these memories, the characters are able to process their own grief. There are a handful of chapters that serve as flashbacks to provide more context as to the relationships of some characters, such as Vesna’s mother Jelena and the opera singer Vlada Milanov. By providing readers with a full picture of the characters and how they came to be together and in love, the author heightens the emotional investment of the story.

Filling her tale with rich detail, the author brings the culture of Belgrade and Serbia to life in this book. The language, food, and inherent societal beliefs are present in such a way that it feels as if it is all firsthand knowledge. Because Belgrade is introduced to Harrison through Vesna and company, readers get to experience the city through the eyes of an expat, and this rendition makes the story almost a love letter to the city.

Return to USR Home