By Slavenka Drakulic
“…before leaving I had to decide what to do with two black-and-white enlarged photographs of Jose. I hesitated to destroy them, because they were all I had left of my lover.”
In 212 pages Drakulic takes us on a three month odyssey through the most intimate thoughts of Tereza, a foreign graduate student on a fellowship in New York City, about her relationship with her married lover, and fellow foreign student, Jose. Together the two create a bond of almost inescapable psychological proportions - cemented in food, drink, sex, and their respective limitations with the English language. This detailed portrait of obsession and isolation is painted in such a way that the reader can almost empathize with Tereza’s quest to possess Jose. Tereza justifies her actions so calmly and logically that you never doubt her sanity – even when she brings Jose’s decomposing, frozen head to the airport and kisses his rotting lips before dumping it in a trash can. Sorry for the mini-spoiler, but this is insanity at its finest.