Toni, the economics correspondent of a leading Croatian newspaper, initially thought it would be a brilliant idea to send his Arabic-speaking cousin Boris to Iraq in his place to report on the war. However, when all news from Boris suddenly stops and he is officially declared “missing”, Toni’s career – and his increasingly complicated personal life – is left hanging in the balance as he is forced to fake his cousin’s reports and, ultimately, account for his own behaviour.
Considered “the Franzen of post-communism”, Perisić expertly uses the war in Iraq as the backdrop for his witty, satirical snapshot of life in modern-day Croatia, a country where politics and nepotism collide and the aftereffects of the recent Yugoslav wars mingle with the joys and trials of everyday life. Topping the Croatian bestseller list in 2008, Our Man in Iraq won the prestigious Croatian Jutarnji list Award for Best Prose in the same year and was subsequently awarded the 2011 Austrian Literaturpreis der Steiermärkischen Sparkasse.
Translated for the first time into English by Will Firth, Istros’ edition of Our Man in Iraq includes an introduction by veteran reporter Tim Judah, known for his coverage of the Yugoslav wars. In 2003, he actually was Croatia’s only man in Iraq, covering the US-led invasion from Baghdad for the newspaper Večernji list; in 2010, he coined the expression “Yugosphere”, which is now widely used to describe relations between the former Yugoslav republics.
To order your very own copy, or for more information, please visit Istros’ website. As always, stay tuned for more exciting updates from London’s Balkan literary HQ!