Four Recent Slovene Migrant Novels in English


  • Ivan Maver


 It has to be stressed from the outset that Slovene migrants in Australia have written and published mostly verse, first in Slovene and more recently also in English. As far as fiction is concerned, they have produced mainly short pieces in prose of various genres, again most frequently in the Slovene language, which were published in Slovene migrant press. Only recently, however, there have four book-length novel-like prose works appeared, written either by Slovene migrants (Ivan Kobal, Janko Majnik) or by Australians of non-Slovene descent (Victoria Zabukovec, Richard Flanagan), who are in some way connected with the Slovene migrant community in Australia. If there does exist such a literary (sub)genre as a migrant novel, then these works can be labelled as such. Very different in scope and method, they, however, in each case represent a valuable testimony to the rich Slovene migrant literary production in Australia and a contribution to the preservation of the historical memory of the Slovene community in Australia. The fourth novel, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, undoubtedly has the greatest artistic value from among the four. It was published in 1997, shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 1998, and was written by Richard Flanagan, an Australian writer of non-Slovene descent married to an Australian born of Slovene parents.