- Author Bio
A sweeping epic by Nobel Prize-winner Ivo Andrić about power, identity, and Islam set in 19th-century Ottoman Bosnia and Istanbul.
Omer Pasha Latas is set in nineteenth-century Sarajevo, where Muslims and Christians live in uneasy proximity while entertaining a common resentment of faraway Ottoman rule. Omer is the seraskier, commander in chief of the Sultan’s armies, and as the book begins he arrives from Istanbul, dispatched to bring Sarajevo’s landowners to heel, a task that he accomplishes with his usual ferocity and efficiency. And yet the seraskier’s expedition to Bosnia is a time of reckoning for him as well: he was born in the Balkans, a Serb and a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a bright boy who escaped his father’s financial disgrace by running away and converting to Islam. Now, at the height of his power, he heads an army of misfits, adventurers, and outcasts from across Europe and Asia, and yet wherever he goes he remains a stranger.
Ivo Andrić, who won the Nobel Prize in 1961, is a spellbinding storyteller and a magnificent stylist, and here, in his final novel, he surrounds his enigmatic central figure with many vivid and fascinating minor characters, lost souls and hopeless dreamers all, in a world that is slowly sliding towards disaster. Omer Pasha Latas combines the leisurely melancholy of Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March with the stark fatalism of an old ballad.
Publication History: Original
This is the first appearance of this Serbo-Croatian classic in the English language
Ivo Andric won the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature and is the best-known Yugoslavian writer of the 20th century. However, little of his work is available in English, making this edition all the more important.
This book is about a the real historical figure of Omer Pasha Latas, making it perfect for serious historical novel readers as well as readers interested in Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire, and Islam.
Will appeal to fans of Orhan Pamuk’s classic novel My Name is Red, set during the Ottoman Empire
Due to the historical context, we expect course adoptions for this title.
The translator Celia Hawkesworth will be available for interviews.
Print run: 6,000
Marketing: Advertising in The New York Review of Books and on The New York Review of Books website: www.nyrb.com
Social media promotion: Facebook, 225k+ followers; Instagram @nyrbooks, 19k+ followers; Twitter, @nyrbclassics, 151k+ followers and @NYRB_imprints, 3.5k+ followers.
“Andrić possesses the rare gift in a historical novelist of creating a period-piece, full of local colour, and at the same time characters who might have been living today.” —Times Literary Supplement
“The historical context will be unfamiliar to most readers, but the issues, of good and evil, identity and fate, are universal.” —Kirkus