22 May 1963|
|Occupation||Novelist, short story writer, editor, university professor|
|Period||Late 20th – early 21st century|
|Genre||Literary fiction, non-fiction|
|Notable works||Skinswaps, Law of Desire, You Do Understand|
Blatnik was born in Ljubljana in 1963. He received a master's in American Literature at the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Arts, and a PhD (on the influence of popular culture on American postmodernist novels) at the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Social Sciences in communication studies in 2004.
He worked as a freelance writer before becoming the fiction editor for Cankarjeva zalozba, a Slovenian publisher. He is an associate professor at the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Arts since 2009, and was the president of the jury for the Vilenica Central European Literary Prize between 2007 and 2015.
In 1984 he won the Zlata ptica award for his first book of short stories Šopki za Adama venijo, in 1991 the Župančičeva award of the City of Ljubljana for his book of short stories Menjave kož, and in 2002 the highest Slovene cultural award, the Prešeren Foundation Award, for his book of short stories Zakon želje. His novel Spremeni me was shortlisted for best novel of the year (the Kresnik award) in 2009 and his book of essays and literary studies Neonski pečati for the best book of essays (the Rožančeva award) in 2006.
Blatnik's first book, Šopki za Adama venijo, is regarded in Slovenia as the first independent book of the generation of the 1980s. His popular topic is "the relations between the sexes, which he treats with sophistication, good humour, and irony. Chance encounters, fleeting relationships, resigned farewells, misunderstandings, and reconciliations are the stuff of many of his short stories. In view of his travels, especially in the United States, the human landscape is frequently cosmopolitan. His style is direct and laconic, in both prose narration and dialogue." His short stories have been translated into about 30 languages and he has published over 25 books in other countries, including three in the US—Skinswaps (Northwestern University Press, 1988), You Do Understand (Dalkey Archive Press, 2010), and Law of Desire (Dalkey Archive Press, 2014)—seven in Croatian, four in Macedonian, three in German, two each in Spanish, Turkish, Italian and Czech, and also books in Russian, French, Slovak, and Hungarian.
Skinswaps received favorable reviews in Publishers Weekly ("The recognizably Central European characters mix philosophy, eroticism and everyday grit, returning repeatedly to themes of music, death, betrayal and the fragility of the individual's hold on reality. Blatnik's craftsmanship and modern flair direct our attention repeatedly to what is small, strange and essential in the world around us."), The New York Times ("This debut collection ... shows that after the opening of the former Eastern bloc, modern alienation travels faster than social and political change."), Kirkus Review ("Superlative short fiction from an exciting new writer."), and elsewhere.
You Do Understand received an equally positive response in Publishers Weekly ("Each of these short bursts (most are barely a page long) bubbles with a droll, dry humor handily captured by Soban's dead-on, deadpan translation."), Kirkus Review ("Blatnik has a knack for wringing insight and meaning out of such concision, and he occasionally places stories with similar themes next to each other to exploit their resonances."), and Library Journal ("Readers who actively participate in Blatnik's imaginative process will be richly rewarded.").
Publishers Weekly noted that in Law of Desire "some stories delve into darkly profound territory, like 'A Thin Red Line,' in which a former terrorist chooses a humanitarian suicide, sacrificing himself for a tribe's rain ritual" and "some pieces are wonderfully humorous."
- Šopki za Adama venijo (Bouquets for Adam Fade), short stories, (1983)
- Plamenice in solze (Torches and Tears), novel, (1987)
- Biografije brezimenih (Biographies of the Nameless), short stories, (1989)
- Menjave kož, (Skinswaps) short stories, (1990)
- Labirinti iz papirja (Paper Labyrinths), essays, (1994)
- Gledanje čez ramo (Looking over the Shoulder), essays, (1996)
- Tao ljubezni (Tao of Love), novel, (1996)
- Zakon želje (Law of Desire), short stories, (2000)
- Neonski pečati (Neon Seals), essays & literary studies, (2005)
- Spremeni me (Change Me), novel, (2008)
- Saj razumeš? (You Do Understand), short stories, (2009)
- Pisanje kratke zgodbe (Writing a Short Story), reference book, (2010)
- Segel, Harold B. (2008). The Columbia Literary History of Eastern Europe Since 1945. Columbia University Press. p. 338. ISBN 978-0-231-13306-7.
- "Skinswaps". Skinswaps. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Lincoln, Allen (28 February 1999). "Skinswaps". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Skinswaps". Kirkus Reviews. 16 November 1998. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "You Do Understand". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "You Do Understand". Kirkus Reviews. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Cumiskey, H.K. (September 2010). "You Do Understand". Library Journal.
- "Law of Desire". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Andrej Blatnik web page
- Presentation in Transcript Magazine
- Words Without Borders
- Review at Books in the Kitchen
- Review at Carpe Libris
- Interview in Dominion Review
- Colum McCann, Aleksandar Hemon, Iulian Ciocan, Frode Grytten, and Andrej Blatnik. Best European Fiction in New York (video) May 2011
- Review in Bomblog