Za’atar – Stories from Middle East

It seemed like a game to her. Although she was already thirteen years old, she played with
children from other tents every day.

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The stories build tension from two perspectives. One represents the virtually mad brazenness of the individual protagonists – western journalists and other intentional travellers in the increasing unrest of Levant – to step out of the safety of the shelter of their usual routines into the enticing danger. The second is the colourful and stoic reconciliation of the other side – the residents of Levant as the nucleus of fear for today’s west. These are set in the imminent destruction and suffering, with the simultaneous resistance to the ontological evil and whirlwind of madness which has sucked them all in without their desire or knowledge.

In the collection of stories “Za’atar“, Ivančić aims to create a type of dharma of the world wanderer – but not in the peaceful forests of northern California, like Kerouac’s beatniks, but in the blazing hot Syriana and Jordanian deserts, where it is impossible to differentiate Another from self in the daily fatamorgana.

Ivančić’s short stories, sometimes in the form of a sketch or travel note, vary in structure from the grotesque to the thriller, all the while warning the reader in an even tone of the fragility of interpreting the historical events in the Near East, and the weight of a personal experience of hatred and destruction.