Zoran Zivkovic: Miss Tamara, the Reader


Miss Tamara, the Reader

Zoran Živković
translated by Alice Copple-Tošić

In this suite of eight stories, the three ages of woman—youth, midlife and senescence—engage in a complex and fruitful dance. A young Miss Tamara is lured by a series of postcards concealed in library books. A middle-aged Miss Tamara discovers that her new reading glasses turn the pages blank. An afternoon's reading is disturbed by the realization that all books have turned fatally toxic. A mysterious phone call leads to a book which blinds its readers but also to romance. Woven through these seemingly simple narratives are deep themes of youth and ageing, memory and loss, solitude and companionship, and the relationship between the physical and the mental life. Above all this is a book about reading: its pleasures, rituals, essential preciousness. Reading as an obsession which can not only isolate, but also lead to discovery and love. 


Živković understands that language as unadorned as stripped down as possible provides a better backdrop for outrageous imaginings than would a more baroque style... Those who like their fantasy rigorous will relish the fiction of Zoran Živković.—David Cozy, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Vol. XXX, No. 3

Zoran Živković continues his love affair with the printed word in this beguiling collection. Like many of Živković's other books it's extremely short, but, also like much of Živković's fiction, contains enough richness and inspiration to fill several mainstream novels.—Adam Groves, fright.com

Živković lays a skillful trail of connections between the individual stories, frequently catching the reader unawares. He works in the fantastika tradition, his stories echoing the tone of Kafka, the ideas of Borges, but Živković's concerns are very much his own, and presented in a very distinctive way.... Stories live, Miss Tamara lives, as one starts to ask questions and explore the stories in great detail. They are not finite but respond to re-reading, to being questioned again. —Maureen Kincaid Speller, The Zone

"Though it is too soon to crown [Zoran Živković] the new Borges, [he is] a leading candidate."—The New York Times Book Review, USA

"Once again the author has shown his control and mastery over his spare prose, a style entirely appropriate to the quietude of his subject and themes, where silence is as much an element as melody."—Sfsite.com, USA

"Živković is, as ever, polished, and frighteningly intelligent; book-lovers will recognize intimately the frissons and frustrations he evokes."—Nicholas Gevers, Locus, USA

"Živković's unnerving gems cast the rest... into the shade."—Washington Post, USA


  • 120 pages
  • Trade paperback 5" x 8" (127mm x 203mm)
  • ISBN 978-4-902075-32-8
  • List Price: U$7.50

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About the author

Zoran Živković

was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, in 1948. Currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Belgrade, he is the author of 18 books of fiction and five books of nonfiction. His writing belongs to the middle European fantastika tradition, exploring themes shared with such masters as Franz Kafka, Stanislaw Lem and Abe Kōbō. He has won the World Fantasy Award, Miloš Crnjanski Award, Isidora Sekulić Award and Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša Award for lifetime achievement in literature, as well as being a runner-up for honors including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (multiple times), the Shirley Jackson Award and the NIN Award.


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