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Here’s one of the finer blurbs you’ll ever read, which is on the dust jacket of the book:
Arjun and the Good Snake is a unique book from father to son, written in a brilliant style by an expat writer of stunning originality. A moving exploration of a father’s love for his young son, it is also a multifaceted search for the meaning of life by an author whose confession of his alcoholism is the least of the confessions made in this book by an extremely sensitive intellect.
His peerless narrative and autobiographical prowess, the fantastic, if not allegoric, and yet realistic tales about venomous snakes caught in places one would expect to be concerned instead with the UNO human development index instead of this gallows humour … Snake catching being a metaphor not only of death but also a symbol of the thrill of being alive, either in the US or in India or a small Mediterranean town whose only real hero – besides its current inhabitants, who have a daily drink or two in one of the anonymous seafront bars – is a rancid, pathetic character who lived 240 years ago, who weaseled his way into Casanova’s memoires during the latter’s escape from a Venetian prison…It is up to you, the reader, to answer the following question: Are we facing another Casanova’s attempt at escaping a prison, this time the prison of addiction, an attempt made by a 21th century Casanova, a Mediterranean wine drinker – an attempt at escaping a prison of love for his son and, in the background, for the dark figures of a woman (a certain Sasi) and their daughter, who are omnipresent and yet almost absent in the story told by an author who is half way between twice-expat and native…
Yet this book is not about its writer–it is about the human race searching for the criteria on which to base our decision to persist in the world … Are we dealing with an author who is willing to transpose to literature Camus’ idea that the only true question for a philosopher is the question of suicide? I do not think so. His own work contradicts that – there is this tremendous vitality of imagery, incessant current of vibrant narration that causes vertigo in a reader and devours anything standing in its way – statistics, newspaper articles, unreliable, alcohol-soaked reminiscences, simple lies and invented stories (that are in the author’s honour) with anecdotal details of the author’s life on the Slovenian Mediterranean coast; it is his explosively vitalist imagination … Do not worry, dear reader, that the book is about other people. I assure you, it is – just as any exceptional book is – about you, the reader, about you and me.
Janez Justin, Professor, Institutum Studiorum Humanitatus, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Professor of what? (‘I suppose I possess a lot of stupid titles, most of them worthless,’ Janez)