The Deer Wedding
Penny Simpson Other books by Penny Simpson
The Deer Wedding is a novel set in Croatia, spanning two generations, two brutal wars and two very special works of art. In 1941, artist Antun Fiskovic' experiences a sea-change in his fortunes following the dramatic revelation of the identity of his real parents, just as occupying forces take over the government of his country. Fifty years later, a young woman called Dagmar Petric' tries to solve the mystery surrounding her journalist father's premature death. "Antun knew it would work, the minute he caught sight of the block of stone left outside the courtyard. The sun picked out the sheen of the tiny seashells embedded in the soft cream stone. In his mind's eye, he saw Milan's torso emerge from its nubbly texture, as if he were a storybook genie softly shooting through a bottle's stem. He crouched down in front of the block and ran his hands over its surface. He could sense by touch alone where his lover's shoulders would break through." Antun and Dagmar's stories come together in 1998, three years after civil war has torn apart the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The citizens of a newly-independent Croatia are asking questions about its future; most urgently: can a country ravaged by war ever move beyond the dogma of vengeance? Dagmar learns that Antun met with her father just weeks before he died, a chance discovery that sets her on a collision course with what she thought she knew of her family's history. Antun is also coming face-to-face with the past, seeking to establish his legacy, but bitterly aware that his work has long been mired in controversy. Set in Zagreb, Split and late Nineties Hvar - a former tourist paradise now home to war refugees - this novel interweaves public and private history through the catalyst of family secrets unearthed, the fallout of war and the journey to personal and national reconciliation.