Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Guest Post - Kirsten Naim talking about Croatia - Bookish World Cup - Croatia

Chances are that most of us, when we think of Croatia, still associate it with what has been described as one of the bloodiest conflicts since the end of WWII. I don’t profess to understand it in detail, but essentially it was a war of independence, in which many Croats sought independence from Yugoslavia. It occurred between 1991-1995 and although deemed a success, it undoubtedly took a heavy toll on the country- it’s architecture, people, economy and society in general, and the scars, both physical and psychological, have yet to fully heal.
Approach to Split, Croatia
So that’s the heavy stuff out of the way. Despite its recent bloody history, Croatia has some rich offerings which will please even the most serious of doubters, whether traveller or tourist. It sits on the beautiful Adriatic coast with its crystal clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches bleached by the sun. Perfect for the sun worshipper but also for the water babies and adrenaline junkies. If you’re into Island hopping, sailing, diving, sunbathing, hillwalking, history and culture, I’d lay a bet that you’ll find something in Croatia to satisfy the heart, soul and mind.
If it’s food and wine you’re after then Croatia has plenty on offer. This is a country whose shifting borders and neighbouring influences on religion, food and art is clearly reflected in the choice of food and wine on offer.  You’ll find pasta, dumplings, black truffles and goulash on the same menu, with a choice of regional wines to wash it all down.
A ‘bookish world cup’ feature wouldn’t be complete without a mention of a) the Croatian football team and b) arts and literature.
So, the football team- well they’re quite good so I’m told and are ranked 17 in the FIFA ranking position.  Even I’ve heard of Luka Modric but that’s probably more to do with my boy’s addiction to FIFA on the x-box. I won’t say anymore about the football as I really don’t know much more and my knowledge from here on in is courtesy of Google and Wiki!
Famous Croats in the arts include Oscar Nemon, a sculptor who escaped to England just ahead of the 2nd World War. I mention him because he sculpted many famous politicians including Winston Churchill, Harold MacMillan and Maggie Thatcher. Churchill’s statue is located in the House of Commons and many MPs rub it for luck!

In literature, sadly I haven’t heard of many of those listed, however I have heard of Slavenka Drakulic, journalist and novelist whose works include, As If I Am Not There and They Would Never Hurt A Fly, a book which is based on her own experiences and reflections of overseeing the prosecution of those responsible for serious crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars at the Hague. Her novel, Frida's Bed, is the one I am most familiar with though. It is based on a biography of a Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, a fascinating insight into such an influential figure.

 A mention of famous Croats wouldn’t be complete though without a nod and a wink to Goran Višnjić, who played the lovely and deeply troubled Dr Luka Kovac in ER, back in the day when I was a dedicated fan. Obviously he’s known for so much more than this, but like George Clooney, it’s a cross he has to bear.

Others include Goran Ivanisevic, famous Tennis player and Wimbledon champ, Tomo Miličević, lead guitarist with Thirty Seconds to Mars, 2Cellos, two Croatian classically trained cellists who play contemporary music ranging from Nirvana to The Jacksons (you should watch this YouTube clip, it’s awesome, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS826PwLHdQ), and lastly, who would have thought it, but Adrian Chiles, British TV presenter. He’s half Croatian on his mother’s side which creates a real dilemma for him when Croatia and England play football, which takes us nicely back to the beautiful game. Good luck Croatia!

What a great look at all aspects of Croatian culture, and I'm impressed at just how many names I recognised from this list.  Thank you so much Kirsten Naim for this post.

Author Bio

I live in Scotland with my husband, two young children and the usual array of pets that seem to accompany small children. I studied science at Edinburgh University when dungarees were in fashion and Dexy’s Midnight Runners could still cut it with the young ones. I really should have studied Art and English and blames my guidance teacher for poor advice!

A Sorry Affair is my debut novel, set in Edinburgh, inspired by a prosecco-fuelled conversation I overheard on a train! It follows the lives of Mack, Jen and Abbi. Mack and Jen have the perfect relationship, until Mack meets Abbi. His feelings for Jen remain the same, but for some inexplicable reason he is drawn to Abbi and before he knows it, he’s in too deep. Abbi has no idea that Jen exists, let alone that she and Mack are engaged.

The story is initially told from Abbi’s point of view. What is it like to be the other woman? Can you really have an affair without knowing it?

It has been described as A beautiful story of pain and sadness as the ‘perfect’ engagement unravels: a tale of the unwitting downward spiral and destruction of a perfect relationship: emotional and full of suspense.

One more thing- I write in secret. No-one knows I write or that I have had a book published, not even my husband or family!

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