A Spare Life
“Lidija Dimkovska enriches our contemporary museum of literary wonders with her powerful, grotesque, weird details and episodes told within the merry old novelistic tradition.” —Dubravka Ugrešić, author of Baba Laid an Egg
A coming-of-age saga of two sisters, with an incredible twist…
It is 1984, and twelve-year-old twins Zlata and Srebra live in communist Yugoslavia. In many ways their lives are like that of young girls anywhere, except for one immense difference: Zlata’s and Srebra’s bodies are conjoined at their heads.
A Spare Life tells the story of their emergence from girls to young adults, from their desperately poor, provincial childhoods to their determination to become successful, independent women. After years of discovery and friendship, their lives are thrown into crisis when an incident threatens to destroy their bond as sisters. They fly to London, determined to be surgically separated—but will this dangerous procedure free them, or only more tightly ensnare them?
In A Spare Life master poet and award-winning novelist Lidija Dimkovska lovingly tells the lives of two astonishing girls caught up in Eastern Europe’s transition from communism to democracy. A saga about families, sisterhood, and being outcasts, A Spare Life reveals an existence where even the simplest of actions is unlike any we’ve ever experienced.
“[A] kaleidoscopic, bighearted novel.” — Publishers Weekly
“A Spare Life uses the boldest of metaphors—the life of conjoined twins—to embody the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. This strange and wonderful novel brings to mind Elena Ferrante and Magda Szabó in the acuity of its social observation and the depth of its mordant humor.” — Katie Kitamura, author of The Longshot and A Separation
“Dimkovska has an eye for detail befitting of a poet and the stark, unrelenting prose of a master storyteller. A Spare Life is a weird and wonderful book, capturing the quirk and complexity of both a declining Yugoslavia, and the inseparable lives of two sisters with clarity, wit, and heart.” — Sara Nović, author of Girl at War, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
“The truth is she’s unstoppable.” — Poetry Foundation