A young man learns English in 1914 Trieste from James Joyce, who repeatedly describes an oil lamp. Years later, in 1941, this same man must flee his country, and he becomes the Slovenian voice of British radio. On his return to Yugoslavia, he falls foul of the new communist authorities. The characters who populate the stories of Drago Jancar stand at the periphery of tragic histories, seeing the ground opening beneath their feet but remaining above the pit.
Drago Jancar, born in Maribor in 1948, is a novelist, short story writer, essayist and playwright. His works have been translated into many European languages, and his plays have enjoyed a number of foreign productions. In 1974 he was taken into custody over alleged propaganda, and he was active in the democratization of his native country as President of the Slovenian PEN Centre between 1987 and 1991. In 1993 he received the highest Slovenian literary award for his lifetime achievement, and in 1994 he won the European Short Story Award. He lives in Ljubljana.