The Papyrus Trilogy :: Zoran Živković

The Papyrus Trilogy


by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tošić and Vuk Tošić

A series of mysterious deaths in the Papyrus Bookstore brings literature-loving police inspector Dejan Lukić to investigate. Together with the attractive owner, Vera Gavrilović, they discover the elusive Last Book is responsible. Seemingly causeless deaths multiply, the National Security Agency, a secret apocalyptic sect, and others are drawn in, and the secrets of immortality, death, and reality itself are revealed in a masterful trilogy that demonstrates the magical and ultimately benevolent power of literature.

Includes The Last Book, The Grand Manuscript, and The Compendium of the Dead.


  • Imagine being presented with a book that, if opened, would be the last thing you ever read. Would your curiosity compel you to open it, even knowing you would not live to tell the tale? How much money would you pay in order to get your hands on a manuscript that grants its first reader immortality? And if you found out that with a single series of books you could bring people back from the dead, would you share the knowledge?
    As with Zivkovic’s prior works … The Papyrus Trilogy is riddled with the impossible, the supernatural, and the unexplainable.
    —Bethany Dahlstrom, Fantastika Journal, vol. 1, No. 2
  • The Papyrus Trilogy is in effect a police procedural series—but with (of course) a difference. We are in Živković territory. Throughout the trilogy everything seems, on the surface, to be ordinary and civilised—but death and disappearance is everywhere. For Inspector Lukić works in a city of magic, conspiracy, and paranoia; only the strange and bizarre seems expected. His world is a literary contrivance, intricately constructed, yet full of human warmth and life. It is spirited and ironic, and—of course—darkly murderous. Lukić is an engaging character who plays and is played with — and so are we.
    —Mark Valentine, Wormwood
  • Selected as one of the 75 Notable Translations of 2017 by World Literature Today!
  • …witty, intricate development; richly drawn, engaging characters; and Živković’s diverse play with the underlying challenge he has set for himself: like Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn, these novels interrogate the possibilities and limitations of the detective genre. … If you’ve not read Živković, indulge yourself: worlds of wonder await you.
    Michael A. Morrison, World Literature Today
  • Why isn’t Zoran Živković better known in this country? He possesses an imaginative ingenuity and charm similar to that of, say, Paul Auster or Italo Calvino, with bits of Kafka, Borges and Beckett mixed in… the narrative seductiveness of Zivkovic’s “impossible stories” remains distinctly his own. Open one of his books and prepare to be enchanted.
    Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book Review
  • Serbian master fantasist Zivkovic has written what may be the most delicious mystery by a speculative-fiction specialist since Stanislaw Lem’s mind-boggling The Investigation (1974). Unlike Lem’s novel, it is also a discreet, witty love story.
    —Publishers Weekly, USA
  • Fans of Zivkovic’s stripped-down, elliptical fables will be delighted by this elusive metafiction.
    —The Guardian, UK


  • Pages: 608
  • Trim size
    Hardcover: 5″ x 8″ (127mm x 203mm), with dj
  • ISBN
    Hardcover: 978-4-908793-01-1
    ebook: 978-4-908793-36-3
  • List Price:
    Hardcover: US$41.00
    Ebook: US$9.99
  • Cover: Youchan Ito (Togoru Art Works)

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