DAMEN KAPRIC, ANKICA TOPIĆ (BOOK REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION)

 Hello! Today I will review Damen kapric, a novel by Ankica Topić, a Croatian author.  If I'm not mistaken this was my first read from this writer.  Ankica Topić is from Makarska, so from the same region in Croatia as yours truly (Dalmatia). I'm mentioning the region because it is relevant to understand the novel's humour.  As in most other European countries, in Croatia you will find cultural and linguistic differences between regions, something that is often used for comic effects in books, TV shows and movies. In this particular novel, the author often contrasts Croats from the South with those from the capital (that is continental Croatia). Damen kapric is a wonderfully funny novel that starts of as a family comedy with elements of romance, but soon turns darker and evolves into a mystery of some kind. An interesting novel for sure. I'm not sure is an English translation available yet. The novel is named after a (possibly Hungarian?) cake.  I wasn't able to determine the exact origin of the cake, but I can tell you that translated it means Lady's whim and that it is still popular in Croatia (and many other neighbouring countries)The cake also represents a conflict of generations in this novel. The mother-in-law uses it to make a passive aggressive remark to her daughter-in-law (something about how the younger generations of wives don't know how to prepare such cakes anymore). Moreover, the cake's name (Lady's whim) might carry additional meanings. Published in 2014, Damen kapric is a lovely contemporary novel. What I liked about it is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's a funny and entertaining read. Scroll down to read my full review.

Zdravo! Danas za vas stiže ogled Damen kapric, roman Ankice Topić, hrvatske autorice. Ako se ne varam ovo je bilo moje prvo čitanje ove spisateljice. Ankica Topić je iz Makarske, dakle iz Dalmacije kao i  ja. Spominjem Dalmaciju jer je bitna za razumjeti humor romana. Kao i u većini drugih europskih zemalja, u Hrvatskoj ćete pronaći kulturne i jezične razlike među regijama, nešto što se često koristi za komične efekte u knjigama, TV serijama i filmovima. U ovom romanu Tomić često suprotstavlja likove s juga s onima iz glavnog grada Zagreba (tj. kontinentalne Hrvatske). Damen kapric je divno smiješan roman koji počinje kao obiteljska komedija s elementima romantike, ali ubrzo postaje mračniji i evoluira u neku vrstu misterija. Zanimljiv roman svakako. Nisam siguran da je engleski prijevod još dostupan. Roman je dobio ime po (možda mađarskom?) kolaču. Nisam uspjela utvrditi točno podrijetlo kolača, ali ovaj kolač čini se da još uvijek popularan u Hrvatskoj (i mnogim drugim susjednim zemljama). Kolač predstavlja i sukob generacija u ovom romanu. Svekrva to koristi za pasivnu agresivnu primjedbu svojoj snahi (nešto o tome kako mlađe generacije više ne znaju pripremati takve kolače). Štoviše, naziv kolača (damin hir, damen kapric) mogao bi imati dodatna značenja. Objavljen 2014., Damen kapric je lijep suvremeni roman. Ono što mi se svidjelo kod njega je to što samu sebe ne shvaća previše ozbiljno. To je smiješno i zabavno štivo. Nastavite sa čitanjem kako bi ste saznali više o njemu.



DAMEN KAPRIC, A NOVEL BY ANKICA TOPIĆ

It is a novel named after a cake, which may symbolically represent the conflict of generations. Damen capric is a cake of older generations, for example of mother-in-law Nevenka (from Zagreb). Nevenka often comes into conflict with her Dalmatian daughter-in-law, whom she blames for ignorance of what a real "housewife" should know (for example, preparing this cake). In reality, what Neveka cannot forgive to her daughter-in-law is that she is married to her only son (a sin from which no woman can receive forgiveness).  Surely, no woman can be good enough for Nevenka's only son. Here we have two strong women in conflict not only with each other but also with their significant others. 

The clash of generations is not the main theme of this novel, though. This novel explores the married life, which is generally speaking presented as quite unhappily, but even single life is not spared of its tragedies.  As light as this novel seems at first, it has a somewhat depressive view of life. In addition to exploring marriage and relationships (love is that eternal theme), this novel also talks about some relevant topics such as the housing crisis and unemployment. The inability to find their own home is a serious issue that plagues a large number of Croatian married couples. The problem of unemployment of young and educated people (especially women) is another problem that runs through the pages of the novel. As Tolstoy wisely concluded, every happy family is similar, and every unhappy one is unhappy in its own way. In this novel we have several unhappy families and individuals, although the writing style is different and the “unfortunates” are not described in realistic prose but in a contemporary style. The novel itself is quite funny and easy to read. Ankica Tomić manages to capture 'spoken/ everyday' Croatian language on page very well.

Damen Kapric is a novel full of humor.  The dialogues are often natural sounding. In fact, certain conversation scenes are so easy to imagine they leave the impression of watching a very good sitcom. It would be great if someone would adapt this novel, I think it would be interesting to watch it on the big and / or small screen. However,  this book is more complex and deeper than an average sitcom or TV series. Although there is a bit of repetitiveness in the book itself, and it seemed too long to me at times, it is still a accomplished work with some really important questions and topics. 

If I had to pick between classifying this novel as an easy or complex read, I would find myself in a dilemma. This book seems to be a mixture of light and complex work. On the one hand, it seems to be an easy read. The writing style suggests it. The novel reads easily, it's funny and the characters themselves are portrayed in a stereotypical manner (possibly for comic effect). On the other hand, the novel talks about some existential problems. Indeed, sometimes this book really scratches beneath the surface to show us a hint of the deep psychological dissatisfaction and unhappiness of the main characters. Damen kapric is a novel that shows that everyone has secrets. Moreover, it  more than suggests that people are often deeply unhappy beneath the surface and are often desperately trying to maintain the semblance of a normal life. This implications certainly make this novel a more ambitious work, despite its light tone.  This was the first novel by Ankica Tomić, but it will certainly not be the last. All in all, I enjoyed her writing style and would love to read the rest of her works as well. To conclude, this novel is not without flaws, but they are not overwhelming. All in all, Damen kapric is a very good novel. 

DAMEN KAPRIC, ROMAN ANKICE TOPIĆ

Roman je koji je ime dobio po kolaču, a kolač možda  (između drugih stvari) simbolički predstavlja sukob generacija. Damen kapric je kolač starijih generacija, primjerice zagrebačke svekrve Nevenke koja često dolazi u sukob sa svojom dalmatinskom nevjestom kojoj prebacuje nepoznavanje onoga što bi prava "domaćica" trebala znati (naprimjer pripremanje navedenog kolača), a da joj u biti najviše prebacuje što je udana za njenog sina jedinca (grijeh od kojeg nijedna žena ne može dobiti oprost). Dvije snažne žene u sukobu ne samo jedna sa drugom nego i sa svojim boljim polovicama. 

Sukob generacija nije glavna tema ovoga romana koji često istražuje bračni život koji je zapravo prikazan prilično nesretno, ali ni samački život nije pošteđen tragedija.  Osim istraživanja braka i veza (ljubav ta vječna tema), ovaj roman priča i o nekih relevatnim temama kao što su stanbeno zbrinjavanje i nezapolenost. Nemogućnost pronalaska vlastitog stambenog prostora je ozbiljno pitanje koje muči veliki broj hrvatskih bračnih parova. Problem nezaposlenosti mladih i obrazovanih ljudi (posebno žena) još je jedan problem koji se vuče kroz stranice romana. Kako je Tolstoj mudro zaključio, svaka sretna obitelj je slična, a svaka nesretna nesretna je na svoj način. U ovom romanu imamo nekoliko nesretnih obitelji i pojedinaca, mada je stil pisanja drugačiji i "nesretnici" nisu opisani realističnom prozom, već suvremenom te je sam roman poprilično smiješan i lako se čita. Ankica Tomić ima razvijen osjećaj za 'govorni' hrvatski jezik te ga dobro hvata na papiru, u pisanoj formi. 

Damen kapric je roman koji obiluje humorom, dijalozi su često prirodni, a pojedine scene razgovora je tako lako zamisliti da ostavljaju dojam gledanja humoristične serije. Bilo bi sjajno kada bi netko ekranizirao ovaj roman, mislim da bi ga bilo zanimljivo pogledati na velikom i/ili malom ekranu. No, ova je knjiga ipak složenija i dublja od humoristične serije. Iako u samoj knjizi ima ponešto praznog hoda, a učinila mi se i predugačka, ipak se radi o ostvarenom djelu s nekim doista bitnim pitanjima i temama. Kada bi morala opisati ovaj roman kao lako ili složeno štivo, našla bi se u dilemi. Zapravo radi se o tome da je ovaj roman pomalo i lagano, a pomalo i složeno štivo. S jedne strane, čini se da se radi o lakom štivu, stil pisanja je lagan,  roman je čitak, a sami likovi čak i pomalo stereotipni. S druge strane, roman progovara o nekim egzistencijalnim problemima i ponekad doista grebe ispod površine da bi nam pokazao naznake dubokog psihološkog nezadovoljstva i nesreće glavnih likova. Damen kapric je roman koji pokazuje da svi imaju tajne i da su ljudi često duboko nesretni ispod površine te da očajnički pokušavaju održati privid normalnog života. Zbog toga ovaj roman ostavlja i dojam ozbiljnijeg djela. Za mene je ovo bio prvi roman Ankice Tomić, ali svakako neće biti i posljedni. Sve u svemu, svidio mi se njezin stil pisanja i rado bih pročitala i ostala njena djela. Za zaključiti je da se ovdje radi o vrlo dobrom romanu, koji iako ima svojih manjih mana one nisu previše bitne i ne kvare sveukupni pozitivni dojam. 


THE STORY OF MY OUTFIT- HOW I WORE IT BEFORE?- SHOPPING MY CLOSET

 Today's outfit is a kind of boring but it is very practical and sustainable (all items in it are old). I wore a very similar version of it for a visit to Rujište mountain a few years back. Jeans are always a bit boring choice for me, so when I wear them, I try to add something interesting. This time I added the camel boots and an interesting sail bag (it's one of a kind, hand made in Croatia) to add some visual interest to this outfit. If I repeat this outfit formula again this autumn/winter, I need to remember to include a bright scarf or something. 

THE BLACK COAT (old, Tally Weijl)- I'm not even sure how many times I've worn this one. You can see plus 30 ways to wear this black coat here (a post I did a while ago in 2019), also here here, here, here and here. I only paid 25 euros for it, so the cost for wear for this particular coat is very low. 

THE BLUE JEANS- I did 28 ways to wear them post here and wore these jeans many times following that post ( most recently HERE).

THE CAMEL BOOTS (PLUS 30 WAYS TO WEAR THEM HERE, PLUS HERE HERE, most recently also HERE)

THE HANDMADE TEXTILE RED & WHITE SAIL BAG- I bought it from a lovely seamstress from Jelsa, see how I wore it herehere, twice in this post here

* U ENGLESKOM DIJELU TEKSTA SU POVEZNICE na stare objave s ovim odjevnim predmetima, kupujmo u svom ormaru, održiva moda i tako te ekološke filozofijice.


Thank you for reading. /Hvala na čitanju. 

Comments

  1. I like your autumn outfit and it sounds like a good read! It's nice that you enjoyed it even if you don't know the origins behind the cake it was named for - a good story always wins out! :)

    Hope that you are having a good week :) Yet another rainy spring day here!

    Away From The Blue

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  2. I love the outfit and the book review. The quote you added from Tolstoy is very interesting and one of my favorites.

    Ekaterina | Polar Bear Style

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  3. It's nice to see some of your illustrations here. And a very cute outfit too!

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  4. Me parece un libro muy interesante, me gusta tus dibujos en espacial el retrato. Y tu look es muy elegante. Te mando un beso

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  5. The book does sound interesting, I enjoy a contemporary read or two between historical fiction, and isn't the cover illustration lovely?
    I like the artwork you've chosen to illustrate your blog and your outfit might be practical but its not boring. You look very stylish. xxx

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    1. Thanks dear. Yes, the cover illustration is lovely and that's what inspired me to share some of my old art as well.

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  6. Beautiful drawings, great books and outfits! :)

    https://www.heyimwiththeband.com.br/

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  7. Oh, my..such great character in your art drawings..that definitely makes me think of the book review! Sounds like a great topic. The Mother and daughter-in-law conflict.

    Your coat is definitely an essential and you wear it beautifully! Thanks so much for the post❤

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  8. So glad you found this author. It really looks like a wonderful fiction book. I am very glad to read your review! Thanks for the wonderful art too. Very cool! Great expressions! Thanks for the outfit inspiration too!

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  9. Wow, I'll add this to my must reads, and the art is beautiful! Love the style!

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    1. Thanks, the art shared (apart from that one on the cover) is mine.

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  10. the book sounds interesting! loving your illustrations too
    thank you for sharing

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  11. That novel sounds right up my street. I'll have a look around whether it's been translated in English. Loving your wonderful artwork too. I do hope your week went off to a good start Ivana! xxx

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    1. It's a fun novel, I will let you know if I find out about translations to languages you read in.

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  12. This book looks really interesting and fun! I like to read fun and exciting books.

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All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

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