By Marija Bulatovic
Fantastical is a peek into Marija Bulatovic’s head seeing memories of her childhood unfold. She writes of her grandparents, parents and neighbors through the eyes of a child with the wisdom of an adult. Her tales of Yugoslavia in the 1980’s are not set up as a traditional novel. The fourteen chapters are in the form of short essays snapshots of times, places and people of Bulatovic’s youth. Many have photos, enriching the experience of stories that are odd, touching and quirky.
My plan was to tell you about one or two of my favorites. Looking at the table of contents, it was impossible to narrow it down. So I’ll give you a sentence on each.
Hanging at the Day Care: Does saving someone’s life really save them?
Friday Mornings: From Farm to table, her grandparents fed their family with food and love.
Wild Strawberry Jelly: Kids are kids no matter where they live.
Blood-Stained Cigarettes: Stairways of her building hold secrets, Bulatovic searches for the truth.
Puddle Under My Chair: A grandfather’s love is unconditional.
Gypsy Magic: Gypsies and bears – enough said!
Keeping the House in Order: Her grandparents liked order in their household – but sometimes too much!
The Angel of Syphilis: Princesses or hookers – you decide.
The Suicide Cult: Crazy, scary things happen in everyone’s life.
Stranger in the Bed: Visiting relatives can be challenging.
Hotdogs and Hemophilia: Forget the nitrates in hotdogs; Bulatovic has to worry about them causing hemophilia.
The Engagement: Men and sports can really get under the skin of the women that love them.
Whose Sit Is It Anyway? This essay made me laugh out loud.
Postscript: To quote the author, “…life is much more than a sum of mundane survival activities.”
This is a great change of pace, from the novels I normally read. The individual stories lend themselves to small snippets of reading if you don’t have time to read for very long. Keep it in the car to read while waiting for your kids to come out of school, or while waiting for an appointment.
Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.