Ljubljana Tales is published by New Europe Writers, a publishing enterprise dedicated to exploring the literary connections between the various European states, with an emphasis on those countries which were formally behind the Iron Curtain.
They have published several volumes of “Tales” including Warsaw Tales (now available for free download), Budapest Tales, Prague Tales and Bucharest Tales. I like the idea of anthologies of books from a particular city, especially when it’s a city I know little about. Ljubljana is of course the capital of the former Yugoslavia nation of Slovenia. My son visitited Ljubljana last year and keeps telling me what a an interesting city it is and this seems to be confirmed by its Wikipedia article.
Ljubljana Tales is a very nicely presented mix of poetry and short fiction in very accessible translations which all reflect the literary tradition of the city. Slovenia had it’s own “Spring” which began in 1987 when the magazine Nova Revija published articles demanding reform. We who live in nations with a more settled history find it difficult to understand the place that writing had in the revolutionary movements which led to the liberation of countries like Slovenia.
The range of pieces in Ljubljana Tales is very wide. About half the book consists of short poems, and the other half a mix of short fiction, never more than about half a dozen pages long. I counted 66 pieces in total and found that as they were so short it was easy to immerse myself in the literary community of Ljubjana for a couple of days by picking the book up at odd moments. In fact, some of the pieces would make useful accompaniments to a visit to the city. For example, Miha Pintarič’s The Cobblers Bridge makes fun of an old ritual that used to take place there: