Flashback Hotel


Published: April 2019





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Book Description

With a tender wit, Vladislavić cuts through the ordinary, the profound, and the truly perplexing to reveal absurdities and truisms alike. From a man who forms a strong emotional attachment to his neighbor’s wall to the etymology-obsessed inventor of the Omniscope, Vladislavic’s characters are as well-constructed as his sentences and as playful as his prose. Flashback Hotel collects two volumes of short stories by one of contemporary South Africa’s most acclaimed novelists.

Ivan Vladislavić occupies a place all of his own in the South African literary landscape: a versatile stylist and formal innovator whose work is nevertheless firmly rooted in contemporary urban life.

JM Coetzee

Ivan Vladislavić manages to mine southern African ore for the universal gem, delivering it in magical, lapidary prose. He fulfills every writer’s hope, as W.H. Auden put it, "to be, like some valley cheese, local, but prized elsewhere."

Peter Godwin

Flashback Hotel has a rare beauty, with delicately drawn images that offset its apocalyptic scenes. ... Weaving elegant description and deeply disturbing imagery, Flashback Hotel is a remarkable collection of short stories that destroy the barriers between reality and fantasy, exposing the struts and bones beneath each suburban street.

Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews

Sparkling, facetious, and entertaining...Vladislavic employs tones ranging from surreal absurdity to meditative wit as he delves into themes of isolation, racism, and politics...Kafka would feel at home in a number of the stories here.

Kirkus Reviews

The writing has a quality of unpredictability, a wildness that seeps through the fabric of Vladislavić’s peerless linguistic control… Ivan Vladislavić is one of the most significant writers working in English today. Everyone should read him.

Katie Kitamatura, BOMB Magazine

Vladislavić is a rare, brilliant writer. His work eschews all cant. Its sheer verve, the way it burrows beneath ossified forms of writing, its discipline and the distance it places between itself and the jaded preoccupations of local fiction, distinguish it.

Sunday Times

His stylistic virtuosity, sardonic wit, playful inventiveness, and his cool intimations of menace transmute the banal into something rich and strange loaded with comic and philosophical significance.

Mail & Guardian Review of Books

One of South Africa’s most finely tuned observers.

Ted Hodgkinson, Times Literary Supplement

Vladislavić is sensitively attuned to the uncanny phenomena that explode from the social fault lines of his city.

Patrick Flanery, The Guardian

Vladislavić is without doubt the most significant writer in South Africa today.

Focus on Africa

Vladislavić’s cryptic, haunting tale echoes Jorge Luis Borges and David Lynch, drawing readers into its strange depths.

Publishers Weekly

Vladislavić’s narrative intelligence is nowhere more visible than in his way with language itself. Each section is perfectly judged; we enter incidents in medias res – as though they were piano études – and exit them before we have overstayed our welcome.

Teju Cole

Ivan's sentences are like no one else's; how does he manage to do it? They rise in the air like balloons and never seem to come down. One reads him looking up.
Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

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