Irena Tot’s Experiment
By Korana Serdarević
Matchmaking Literature and Film 2018
Eksperiment Irene Tot
Irena Tot’s Experiment
Korana Serdarević was born in 1982. She won two first prizes for her short stories in 2013 (Ranko Marinković Award for her story "Four-lined Snake" and Zlatko Tomičić Award for "Birds") and also published her prose in all relevant literary magazines and Third Programme of the Croatian Radio.
LOGLINE of the book
Irena Tot, a Croatian woman in her thirties, decides to change: in the pursuit of herself she quits her job, flirts with same-sex love, tries couch surfing, falls in love, while her looks behave as a litmus paper of her change.
synopsis of the book / STORY
In her debut novel, Korana Serdarević explores the story of the female protagonist Irena Tot, whose coatings she will gradually unfold like the onion layers, giving Irena the different form, physically and mentally. As an intensely self-aware individual in her thirties, the uncompromising heroine puts her life decisions into question and refuses to consent to the traditional path anticipated for a woman in the Croatian patriarchal society, determined to perform an experiment – to change herself and to challenge her outlines. She abandoned the life in rural environment with a sweet man, a nice house, children and a dog, because she felt captured like a roe deer in an animal trap. Instead, in the midst of the identity crisis she makes sure the renowned ground below her feet slips away, constantly putting herself in unfamiliar situations, like getting involved with lesbian relationship or renting a room to a complete stranger. Irena opts for brutal honesty with herself rather than settlement, the more difficult pathway that brings her unemployment and loneliness, but that will also lead to genuine fulfilment.
My main interest is to create a fictional world much similar to our own, but different in significant details, enough to make a reader wonder whether the story or character is possible. That way I challenge the audience to question their own reality, making them motivated by my characters’ story to reconsider their decisions, acts or feelings.
Irena Tot lives a life that seems perfect: she has a good job and a man she loves and who wants to marry her. They plan to live in countryside, and he dreams about having a child and a dog. Reconsidering her past life, Irena comes to the conclusion that her future looks like everybody else’s. So she decides to take a different, unexpected path, she herself does not know. She leaves her fiancé, her job, and rushes into very strange situations that change her from inside out. Is it possible for an adult person to change completely? Is the state of happiness similar for us all?
pUBLISHER company profile
Fraktura was founded in 2002. We have received over 50 literary honors including awards for the best publisher in Croatia in 2014, the best publisher in region in 2014 and London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2015. In 2013 Fraktura has begun The World Literature Festival in Zagreb that has turned into one of the most significant yearly manifestations of this kind in the region.
Seid Serdarević is editor-in-chief of Croatian publishing house Fraktura and program director of World Literature Festival. He graduated comparative literature and Czech literature at the University of Zagreb. He was awarded the Croatian prize Kiklop as editor of the year 2007 and in 2015, Fraktura won the London Book Fair International Excellence Award 2015.
MAIN AWARDS / FESTIVALS OF WRITER
Ranko Marinković Award for her story Kravosas (Four-lined Snake) and Zlatko Tomičić Award for Ptice (Birds); Festival of World Literature, Festival of the European Short Story, Vilenica International Literary Festival, Alpe Adria Young Writers etc.
PAST MAIN PUBLICATIONS OF WRITER
"Nothing Can Be Done" (2015)
MAIN BIBLIOGRAPHY & SELECTION IN MAIN FESTIVALS OF PUBLISHER
Fraktura has published more than 650 books in fifteen years of existence. From the Croatian and regional authors, some of the most relevant titles are Unterstadt by Ivana Šojat, Homeland, Oblivion by Ludwig Bauer, Sonnenschein by Daša Drndić, Viljevo by Luka Bekavac, Bezdan by Josip Mlakić, Elijah’s Chair and A Castle in Romagna by Igor Štiks, Kinship by Miljenko Jergović, The Fox by Dubravka Ugrešić... Fraktura greatly invests in the publishing high-quality translated literature, such as Péter Nádas, Robert Musil, Witold Gombrowitz, David Grossman, Sofi Oksanen, Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti, Daniel Kehlmann, Claudio Magris etc.
Fraktura’s authors were awarded with the most important awards such as t.portal award, Prozart award, Njegoš award, EUPL prize, Meša Selimović award, Jutarnji list daily award, Kiklop award, Vladimir Nazor award, Ivan Kozarac, Josip Kozarac award, Ksaver Šandor Đalski award etc.
AUDIOVISUAL RIGHTS HIGHLIGHTS BY PUBLISHER
Elijahova stolica by Igor Štiks (a play, Jugoslovensko dramsko pozorište), Glava velike ribe by Ognjen Sviličić (a film, Interfilm), Unterstadt by Ivana Šojat (a play, HNK Osijek).
Croatian contemporary rural and urban environment.
Irena, Irena’s grandmother, Irena’s mother, lovers Matko, Luiza and Thomas, brother Filip
PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL AVAILABLE
English sample translation; https://fraktura.hr/foreign-rights/books/eksperiment-irene-tot.html
FILM AND TV REFERENCES (Sample films)
FIND OUT MORE
TARGET AUDIENCE AGE
TARGET AUDIENCE PROFILE
The story meets the universal situation relatable to the widest audience profile, but maybe would be particularly interesting to women.
LOCATIONS IN WHICH STORY TAKES PLACE
Rural environment – villages Potkraj and Raskrižje (Matko’s and grandmother’s house, Luiza’s village), city (possibly Zagreb), Irena’s apartment, Filip’s apartment
AGE IN WHICH STORY TAKES PLACE
TV (Film and Series) Cinema / Internet / Theatre / Webseries / Musical
AVAILABLE RIGHTS FOR TERRITORIES
Fraktura - Seid Serdarević
Other information connected to the project at the Matchmakingforum at : firstname.lastname@example.org