Midsummer. A young woman travels on a train from Paris to Croatia, where the family waits on Grandmother‘s Island, as every summer. She thinks of the man with whom she had a relationship for a year that never really could start: the man is a married man. A painter, who no longer paints. The dead grandfather joins her in the moving train. He also was a painter, also had stopped painting. The two absent-present men become her companions on a journey into the past and the memory, that constitutes a family narrative. The emigration of her parents shortly before the war in Croatia has triggered a myriad of movements. Break open, break off, it seems to be a family tendency, that repeats itself, that is questioned. In this field of tension of these geographical and linguistic shifts, in these spaces occupied by history, Ivna Žic tells in her debut novel of a beginning search, scanning now and then at the same time.
AwardsNominated for the Austrian Book Prize 2019 * Nominated for the Swiss Book Prize 2019 * Nominated for the Bremer LIterature Prize 2019 * Selected for the „12 Swiss Books 2019“ by the ProHelvetia Foundation
English sample translation available
French sample translation available
Complete German text available
Ivna Žic was born in 1986 in Zagreb, grew up in Zurich and lives in Vienna. She has published numerous theater plays.
"As if from nowhere, the young Swiss author Ivna Žic comes up with her first novel 'The Descendant'. No experimental shenanigans. Content and language merge as if magically." - Christine Richard, Tages-Anzeiger
"This novel is a great feat in miniature. It is only 160 pages, after which one knows that Swiss literature has a new great talent. (...) Ivna Žic has mastered the great art of ambiguity. From it emerges the magnificently true-to-life portraits of relatives." - Paul Jandl, NZZ
"In a flowing language, suggestive and with a great sense of rhythm. Ivna Žic succeeds in creating a strong atmosphere without making a big fuss, subtle and poetic in places. A voice to be discovered." - Anja Dürrmeier, BR
"It is amazing how Ivna Žic was able to condense the experiences of a child of the diaspora, with all its losses and all its beauty, so intensely on only 164 narrow pages. Others need 400 pages for that." - Margarete Affenzeller, Der Standard
"The boundaries between past and present and between truth and imagination blur, presented in condensed, poetic language." - Saskia Balser, AVIVA Berlin
"All of these moments make Ivna Žic's The Descendants a dazzling teeming of novel. That asks questions, good, existential questions; but is too clever to provide answers. Because any - that's the bottom line - would fall short of describing a life." - Fabian May, WDR5
"What a debut! Ivna Žic's language jumps out at me. The precise, the breathless, the alienating." - Annette König, SRF