Dada’s life is at a standstill in Zagreb—she’s sleeping with a married man, working a dead-end job, and even the parties have started to feel exhausting. So when her sister calls her back home to help with their aging mother, she doesn’t hesitate to leave the city behind. But she arrives to find her mother hoarding pills, her sister chain-smoking, her long-dead father’s shoes still lined up on the steps, and the cowboy posters of her younger brother Daniel (who threw himself under a train four years ago) still on the walls.
Hoping to free her family from the grip of the past, Dada vows to unravel the mystery of Daniel’s final days. This American debut by a poet from Croatia’s “lost generation” explores a beautiful Mediterranean town’s darkest alleys: the bars where secrets can be bought, the rooms where bodies can be sold, the plains and streets and houses where blood is shed. By the end of the long summer, the lies, lust, feuds, and frustration will come to a violent and hallucinatory head.
Praise for Adios, Cowboy:
“In Dada’s wild amalgam of quest story, social satire, and comic shtick (plus a surreal film-shoot scene featuring cowboys), you won’t catch Savicevic offering tidy diagnoses. You won’t care, thanks to prose that glints like the sea in the distance.”
“‘Memory is the present of all remembered events,’ reflects the protagonist of this droll slice-of-life story, expressing the personal sense of stagnation she experiences upon returning to her childhood home in a remote Croatian village. Dada is newly returned from Zagreb to ‘the Old Settlement,’ hoping to put a pointless love affair behind her and to care for her aging mother, and she finds the routines of the locals and her grown-up childhood friends little changed from how she remembers them… As depicted by Savičević, Dada is a resilient woman whose appreciation of the absurdities of her life allow her to carefully navigate them. Her experiences make for an intimate character study.”
“The publication of this dazzling, funny and deadly serious novel will bring nourishment to readers hungry for the best new European fiction, and to those wondering where the new generation of post-Yugoslav novelists are… It shines… with the help of a flawless translation from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth… With this novel, which lodges itself in your chest like a friendly bullet, a glorious new European voice has arrived.”
“Savičević, who was born in 1974 and grew up with the war… belongs to a lost generation. This novel, which appears to be an account of a personal quest, is about so much more… The humour and sheer anarchy of the action combined with the comic exasperation, unforgettable characters and Dada’s wry acceptance of the way life happens to be, make this subversively appealing novel all the more profound; even, unexpectedly, beautiful.”
—The Irish Times
“Savičević tells her story in highly poetic, sensual language aglow with wondrously incandescent images.”
“Weaves together past and present in a devastatingly consequential way, full of ghosts, regret, and Dada’s always poignant self-examination… When the prose lands… it’s reminiscent of Renata Adler or Lorrie Moore: breathtakingly brilliant with comedy made especially sharp through ubiquitous, underlying tragedy.”
“An accomplished debut novel… Savičević may employ conventional narrative modes—the detective story, the mock western, the email correspondence—but she always uses them as vehicles to further a subtle sociological inquiry that is woven into the novel’s language itself.”
—Words Without Borders
“A wild ride through the dusty streets of a coastal city in Dalmatia; clouds of memories are stirred up and verbal hot lead fills the air. The dust settles to reveal a subtle and cleverly crafted family story, which revolves around a pervasive past waiting to be addressed.”
“Wonderfully direct and breathtakingly vulgar… This mosaic of memories and the present, jottings and letters, makes a fascinating reading experience full of vivid impressions, sentimental truths and satirical insights into life in all its depravity.”