Daša Drndić | Brigitte Döbert & Blanka Stipetić

Daša Drndić: Sonnenschein
Translated from the Croatian by Brigitte Döbert & Blanka Stipetić | Sonnenschein
Hoffmann und Campe Verlag 2015 | Fraktura, Zaprešić 2007

“A woman who has waited for 62 years leafs through documents from the time when the National Socialists were in power and murdering people in the city of Gorizia north of Trieste. A family tree, a 70-page list containing the names of 9,000 Jews who were murdered or deported from Italy or from territories occupied by Italy, brief biographies of SS men, photos, song lyrics, testimonies: Croatian Daša Drndić assembles documents about an unknown scene of the Holocaust in Haya’s memoirs of her dangerous affair, a family of hangers-on and failed attempts to find her lost son. Brigitte Döbert and Blanka Stipetic are able to preserve in German the changing pitches of this unusual documentary novel hovering between fact and fiction, bureaucratic seizure and personal destiny.” (The jury on the shortlist nomination 2015)


A mother waits for her son. It’s been 62 years since he was abducted by the Nazis from Gorizia, a city on the Italian-Slovenian border. This was where she had an affair with an SS officer as a young girl. Unlike the rest of her Jewish family, Haya Tedeschi survived, only to spend decades searching for the son who was stolen from her. She comes upon other fates, reads testimonies, looks at photographs and mementos. With her story, Daša Drndić tells of the horrors of the last century, assembles fact and fiction into a documentary novel that nears the mechanisms of evil lest we forget the dark first half of the twentieth century and the excesses of the Holocaust in southeastern Europe.

Daša Drndić, © private

About the author

Daša Drndić, born in Zagreb in 1946, is one of Croatia’s most noteworthy authors and playwrights. She studied the English language and literature and theatre arts in Yugoslavia and the United States. In addition to writing, she worked for more than twenty years as an editor, producer and radio playwright for Radio Belgrade, taught grammar school English and worked in publishing. She taught at universities in Canada and the United States for many years and today teaches English literature at the University of Rijeka.

Recent publications:
Belladonna; Fraktura, Zaprešić 2012
April u Berlinu; Fraktura, Zaprešić 2009
After Eight; Meandar, Zagreb 2005
Doppelgänger; Faust Vrančić, Zagreb 2005

Brigitte Döbert, © Ariel Gout

About the translators

Brigitte Döbert, born in 1959, is a translator and visual artist. She worked in publishing following studies of philosophy, African studies, the book trade and German. Since 1995 she has primarily translated fiction and non-fiction from English, Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian into German, including a number of novels by Miljenko Jergović and works by Dževad Karahasan and Bora Ćosić. In 2016, Brigitte Döbert received the Leipzig Book Fair Prize for the German translation of Bora Ćosić’s novel Tutori.

Recent translations:
Miljenko Jergovic: Das Walnusshaus; Schöffling & Co. Verlagsbuchhandlung 2015 (Dvori od oraha, Rende, Belgrad 2003)
Bora Ćosić: Die Tutoren; Schöffling & Co. Verlagsbuchhandlung 2015 (Tutori; Nolit, Belgrad 1978)
Miljenko Jergović: Vater, translated from the Croatian; Schöffling & Co. Verlagsbuchhandlung 2015 (Otac; Rende, Belgrad 2010)
Mark Thompson: Geburtsurkunde: Die Geschichte von Danilo Kiš, translated from the English with Blanka Stipetić; Carl Hanser Verlag 2015 (Birth Certificate. The Story of Danilo Kiš; Cornell University Press, Ithaca 2013)
Pištalo, Vladimir: Millenium in Belgrad, translated from the Serbian; Dittrich Verlag 2011 (Milenijum u Beogradu; Agora, Zrenjanin 2009)

Blanka Stipetić, © Dagmar Schruf

Blanka Stipetić, born in Vojvodina in 1967, studied southern Slavic languages and political science in Würzburg. She works as a translator, author and publisher in Berlin. She translates into German from English, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian.

Recent translations:
Mark Thompson: Geburtsurkunde: Die Geschichte von Danilo Kiš, translated from the English with Brigitte Döbert; Carl Hanser Verlag 2015 (Birth Certificate. The Story of Danilo Kiš; Cornell University Press, Ithaca 2013)
Jurica Pavičić: Tabernakel, translated from the Croatian with Susanne Böhm; Schruf & Stipetic 2014 (Patrola na cesti; V.B.Z., 2008)
Slapšak, Svetlana: Die Revolution der Frauen; Beton, print edition for the 2014 Leipzig Book Fair (not yet published in Serbian)
Veselin Gatalo: Getto, translated from the Serbian; Schruf & Stipetic 2013 (Geto; AGM, Zagreb 2006)

Schandfleck; Rowohlt Taschenbuchverlag 2010