Download Cafe Europa: Life After Communism by Slavenka Drakulic PDF

By Slavenka Drakulic

This day in jap Europe the architectural paintings of revolution is whole: the previous order has been changed by way of a variety of varieties of loose industry economic climate and de jure democracy. yet as Slavenka Drakulic observes, "in lifestyle, the revolution is composed even more of the small things—of sounds, seems and images." during this terrific paintings of political reportage, filtered via her personal adventure, we see that Europe continues to be a divided continent. within the position of the fallen Berlin Wall there's a chasm among East and West, which include the various approach humans proceed to reside and comprehend the realm. Little bits—or intimations—of the West are steadily making their manner east: boutiques sporting Levis and tiny meals outlets known as "Supermarket" are multiplying on major boulevards. although Drakulic can discover a Cafe Europa, whole with Viennese-style espresso and Western decor, in exactly approximately each jap ecu urban, the attractiveness of the East by way of the remainder of Europe keeps to end up even more elusive.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction: First-Person Singular
1
Café Europa
6
Invisible partitions among Us
14
Why I by no means Visited Moscow
22
In Zoe’s Bathroom
32
To Have and To Have Not
38
A Smile in Sofia
46
The Pillbox Effect
53
Money, and the way To Get It
60
The difficulty With Sales
69
My Frustration With Germany
79
The significance o f donning a Uniform
85
A Premeditated Murder
93
A King for the Balkans
100
Buying a Vacuum Cleaner
109
A Nostalgic social gathering on the Graveyard
118
On undesirable enamel
126
A Croat between Jews
136
My Father’s Guilt
143
People from the 3 Borders
160
He Sleeps Like a Baby
170
W ho’s Afraid o f Tito’s Wife?
182
An Unforgettable assembly
186
Still caught within the Mud
195
Bosnia, or What Europe ability to Us
204

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Sample text

The idea was that those who had been able to build their own private houses should return their apartments to their local community, firm, institution, school, hospital, or whoever else provided them with their tenants’ rights. The reason behind this campaign was, of course, the shortage of housing, and the guiding principle was the egalitarian one: you cannot have both an apartment and a house while others have nothing. This was the last serious attempt I remember to apply the ‘you have, I need’ principle, and it did not stand much of a chance.

The car was vibrating from the loud disco music. His radio was left on, constantly emitting a terrible noise. But I did not say a word; I did not dare to. Obviously I was to consider myself lucky that I was permitted to use his private taxi as public transport. The message came over loud and clear: ‘This is my car, and I do what I please. ’ Yes, Mr Taxi Driver; yes I’ve got ya! I thought. The Pillbox Effect W hen I first saw the row of five military pillboxes just outside Rinas Airport near Tirana, my reaction was: this is it, this is Albania as I have read about it and expected it to be, a country turned into a communist prison.

For people like that, I could imagine that this was indeed a royal bathroom. For Zoe’s bathroom is not luxurious at all, but rather pathetic in its attempt to be luxurious. It is an ordinary, if spacious, bathroom of the sort you might see in middleclass family homes in the West. But when Zoe lived here, her bathroom was a statement of ultimate luxury, primarily because it functioned and was equipped with hot water, 34 | Café Europa soap and toilet paper. It was the exception in Romania, which marked it as luxury.

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