Ognjen Spahić est né en 1977 au Montenegro dans la ville de Podgorica. Avant Puna glava radosti, Spahić avait déjà publié deux recueils de nouvelles: Sve to (All That) en 2001 et Zimska potraga (Winter Search) en 2007. Son roman Hansenova djeca (Hansen’s Children), publié en 2004, s’est vu attribué le prix Meša Selimović en 2005 ; un prix décerné au meilleur nouveau roman issu soit de Croatie, de Serbie, du Montenegro ou de Bosnie-Herzégovine. A ce jour, Hansenova djeca a été publié en français, italien, slovène, roumain, hongrois, macédonien et anglais. Sa nouvelle 'Rejmond je mrtav. Karver je umro, rekoh' ('Raymond is No Longer with Us – Carver is Dead') a été publiée aux U.S.A. par Dalkey Archive Press dans son anthologie Best European Fiction 2011. En 2007 il comptait parmi les écrivains résidents du programme d’écriture internationale de l’université de l’Iowa. En 2011, il a reçu le prix du festival Ovide en Roumanie, remis à un jeune talent célèbre. Puna glava radosti est actuellement le quatrième livre de fiction de Spahić et son travail le plus récent.
Translated by Celia Hawkesworth
As I watch her through the peephole in the door, it looks as though the woman is holding a lance, one of those long, wooden, non-functional, sloppily sharpened ones which a knight was supposed to use, at a gallop, to break against the breast of another similarly galloping rider. She is holding it in the middle, balancing the awkward object while carrying a bag full of black grapes and tomatoes in her other hand.
That woman is my mother, and the bell has not worked for several months now. In order to attract my attention, she is obliged to bang her forehead against the thick wood. There's nothing wrong with my hearing. But the dull blows I heard as I sat in an armchair, doing nothing, struck me as strange, not quite of this world. One short and hard one, then three in a row with her forehead. Because when I put my eye to the peephole, that forehead was just preparing for another knightly assault on the black, varnished surface. I let her hit it and only then opened the door. There was my mother's smell. Her breath had the aroma of filter cigarettes, while beads of sweat evaporated from her with a hiss I couldn't hear but which spread through the hallway, setting up resonances in the hearing of hidden rodents, large flies and sparrows twittering in the loft.
“The lift... ”
“Yes, Mother... Humping all this stuff to the fourth floor... ”
“The lift's out of order... ”
“You don't say. I'm sorry. The grapes go into the fridge. Let me give you a hand.”
“Wash them first and let the water run. I want some cold water, that's all I want.”
“At your service, madam. And, once you've sat down, I want to hear all about that lance.”
“Idiocy. You know the kind of thing. People at school insisted that I take it with me. Projecting emotion or something... They think this object belongs to me and no one else.”
“And this object is... ”
“A glass of water, please.”
“Right away. And this object is... ”
“And put a slice of lemon in it. There's a piece left over in the fridge door.”
“This object is... Come on... ”
“A map of the world. You've left some pips. The stupid map of the world that hung over my head for 30 years. Pour me another, please.”