A Spare Life by Lidija Dimkovska
The Queer Syllabus is a joint project from The Rumpus and Foglifter Press that allows writers to nominate works for a new canon of queer literature. When we identify our roots, when we point to the work that shaped us as writers and as people, we demonstrate that our stories are timeless, essential, and important—and so are we. The Queer Syllabus is edited by Wesley O. Cohen and Marisa Siegel.
If a pink water gun is a queering of the gun, then Dimkovska’s book is a queering of the break-up of former Yugoslavia. This novel operates on a metaphor of conjoined twins, Srebra and Zlata (Silver and Gold), who dream of separation, yet they live out their childhoods and young adult lives trying to come to terms with their poverty and grim luck, and thus, destined dependence. The farthest thing from a heteronormative scene, Srebra and Zlata’s experiences politicize borders and their disappearance, in the meantime, radicalizing family life. A book in translation, A Spare Life invites the English language into a new dance and Western culture into a reimagining of daily life. A gem from Eastern Europe.
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