Miss Tamara, the Reader :: Zoran Živković

Miss Tamara, the Reader

by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian 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 realisation 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.

Also included in Impossible Stories II.


  • …there’s usually a strange premise in each piece that tends to be minutely bizarre that makes it inconspicuously believable but definitely tickling one’s sense of wonder. What’s interesting with this suite is that each story features what seems to be a parallel-world Miss Tamara as the events of the preceding piece has no bearing on the next… until we read the culminating story “Fruit Salad” wherein Živković ties up the mosaic.
    —Charles Tan, Bibliophile Stalker
  • Award-winning Serbian author Živković explores the concepts that make up the building blocks of literature, reading and writing. …eight interconnected vignettes focusing on how books, fruit and men play parts in the life of bibliophile Miss Tamara.
    —Publishers Weekly


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