The University of Wisconsin Press

The Time of the Goats
Luan Starova
Translated by Christina E. Kramer

“Starova shows the Balkans in all their beautiful complexity. The novel weaves together the personal, political, ethnic, national, and, at times, international, in ways that speak both to the little-known realities of the early postwar Yugoslav experience and the human condition in general.”
—Victor A. Friedman, University of Chicago

It’s the late 1940s in Skopje, Yugoslavia, in the critical year leading to Tito’s break with Stalin. Pushed to leave mountain villages to become the new proletariat in urban factories, a flood of peasants crowds into Skopje—and with them, all of their goats. Suffering from hunger, Skopje’s citizens welcome the newcomers. But municipal leaders are faced with a dilemma when the central government issues an order calling for the slaughter of the country’s goat population.  With food so scarce, will they hide the outlawed animals?  Or will they comply with the edict and endure the bite of hunger?
The Time of the Goats is the second novel in Luan Starova’s acclaimed multi-volume Balkan Saga. It follows the main characters from My Father’s Books and the tragicomic events of their lives in Skopje as the narrator’s intellectual father and the head goatherd become friends. As local officials clumsily carry out absurd policies, Starova conveys the bonds of understanding and mutual support that form in Skopje’s poorest neighborhoods. At once historical and allegorical, folkloric and fantastic, The Time of the Goats draws lyrically on Starova’s own childhood.

Portrait of author Luan StarovaLuan Starova is a novelist, poet, scholar, diplomat, and literary translator. An Albanian from the Republic of Macedonia who writes in both the Albanian and Macedonian languages, he has served as Macedonia’s ambassador to France, Spain, Portugal, and UNESCO, and was formerly professor of French at the University of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Skopje. His books have been translated into many languages. Christina E. Kramer is professor and chair of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Toronto. She is coauthor of the 3rd edition of the textbook Macedonian: A Course for Beginning and Intermediate Students, co-translator of the novel Bai Ganyo: Incredible Tales of a Modern Bulgarian, and translator of the first novel in Starova’s Balkan Saga: My Father’s Books, all of which are published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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Of Related Interest:
Old portrait of a family from the BalkansMy Father's Books
Luan Starova
Translated by Christina E. Kramer

My Father’s Books, with its hypnotic repetitions and its varied meditations on one and the same theme, is like an extended prose poem, an elegy in the form of a novel. Beautifully translated, it is a book to be savored.”
—Madeline G. Levine, translator of Milosz’s ABC’s

November 2012
LC: 2012013019 PG
152 pp.   5.5 x 8.25

First English translation. Wisconsin edition not for sale in Macedonia.

Book icon Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-29094-8
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“An appealing and compelling read. The wry, thoughtful voice of the narrator talks about tragic and complicated political events in ways that make them instantly understandable in all their complexity.”
—Ellen Elias-Bursac, winner of the 2006 National Translation Award

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Updated May 23, 2012

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