Short Story #4: Propaganda by Monuments (Ivan Vladislavić)

Deal Me In Reading Challenge: I drew the five of clubs.

Story: Propaganda by Monuments, by Ivan Vladislavić (from The Granta Book of the African Short Story)

Comments: Ivan Vladislavić is a South African writer of Croatian extraction, who has “written extensively about Johannesburg, where he lives.”  This story deals with the impact that public monuments can have, and how such monuments can be used to “teach” history.  It deals in particular with a  monument of Stalin in Moscow (being taken down, in this story), and one of J. G. Strijdom (Prime Minister of South Africa 1954-58) in Pretoria.

For me, I’m afraid this story didn’t work.  The same point could have been made, and made more clearly, in a few short paragraphs of non-fiction.  Monuments as propaganda is quite an interesting sociological topic.  But when I got to the end of this story, I turned the page expecting more.  It was bewildering to find that there wasn’t any more.  Why waste all those early pages of good writing at the beginning of the story, just to lead up to… well, not very much?  Or am I missing the point?

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2 thoughts on “Short Story #4: Propaganda by Monuments (Ivan Vladislavić)

  1. Sorry, it sounds like you got a bit of a “dud” this week. 🙂 It happens sometimes in “Deal Me In.” It does sound like an interesting topic, though, and I had never heard of the South African prime minister mentioned.

  2. Pingback: Deal Me In 2014: Week 4 Wrap-up | Bibliophilopolis

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