Moral and Corporeal Ghosts in Milica Micic Dimovska's Collection U Procepu

Sibelan Forrester, Swarthmore College

Milica Micic Dimovska has received several important literary prizes and is one of the best-known women writing in Serbian today. Her 1998 collection U Procepu (Belgrade: NOLIT, 1998) contains twelve short stories. Almost all the stories include revenants or focus on the recently deceased, relatives or friends of the stories' narrators or main characters. The presence of death and the thoughts and experiences of survivors has many implications for a country with such troubled recent history, whose recollections of lost republics and possibilities still ache like phantom limbs. Most of the stories are situated in the specific geography and historical context of Novi Sad, capital of Vojvodina. Micic Dimovska effectively depicts the cost of great events, especially the wars of the 1990s, though their echoes in the sphere of "peace," tracing the psychological and moral toll of war and of the accompanying political degradation on the people, mostly women, who remained at home in a province that was at least nominally peaceful. Several stories raise the issue of religion and its consequences for fervent female believers. Taken together, in their variety and complexity, they form a more devastating critique of recent events than any political pamphlet.

This paper will examine the roles of personal and historical ghosts in the collection's stories, demonstrating that Micic Dimovska's book can be read at once for its immediate relevance and for the universal implications that appeal to a readership outside its own time and place of origin.