The Ministry of Pain
Tanja Lucic teaches at the University of Amsterdam and lives on the edge of the city's red light district. She and her pupils, fleeing the violent break-up of their homeland Yugoslavia, have found temporary refuge in the Department of Slavonic Languages.
Desperate to make ends meet, many of the students find work at the ‘Ministry’ a fetish-wear factory in North Amsterdam. Meanwhile, Tanja and her student Igor form a dangerously close relationship that threatens to unleash all the tensions of life in exile.
Dubravka Ugresic illuminates with savage compassion our shared human homelessness.
Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
Translated by Michael Henry Heim