Inner Side of the Wind or a Novel of Hero and Leander

Inner Side of the Wind or a Novel of Hero and Leander

Original title: Unutrašnja strana vetra ili roman o Heri i Leandru

Basic book data

More than 35 editions in 20 languages, Russian, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Slovenian, Slovak, Czech, Romanian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Japanese, Korean, Georgian, Turkish, Greek, Mongolian and Bulgarian.

First edition: Belgrade, Prosveta, 1991, 115+98 pages.

  1. Внутренняя сторона ветра (Inner Side of the Wind) (10)
    Москва, ЯП, 1997.
    Санкт-Петербург, Азбука, 1999, 2000(2), 2001(2), 2003, 2005.
    Санкт-Петербург, Амфора 2010.
    Лениздат – классика, 2013.
    Санкт-Петербург, Пальмира, 2017.

  2. The Inner Side of the Wind (4)
    Knopf, New York, 1993.
    Vintage International, New York, 1993.
    Dereta, Belgrade, 1998.
    The Inner Side of the Wind [Kindle Edition e-book]
    Amazon.com, Kindle Store, 2012.
    Dereta, Belgrade, 2016.

  3. L’ Envers du vent, Ou Le Roman De Héro Et Léandre (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Belfond, Paris, 1992.

  4. Die inwendige Seite des Windes oder Der Roman von Hero und Leander (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Carl Hanser Verlag, Munchen Wien, 1995.

  5. Il lato interno del vento (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Garzanti Editore, Milano, 1992.

  6. La cara interna del viento (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Espasa calpe, Madrid, 1993.

  7. Vindens insida (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Symposion, Stockholm, 1995.

  8. Notranja stran vetra (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Ma-No, Nova Gorica, 2002.

  9. Vnutorna strana vetra (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Bratislava, Petrus, 2005.

  10. Vnitřní strana větru (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Praha, Mlada fronta, 2009.

  11. Partea launtrica a vintului, Sau Roman Despre Hero si Leandru (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Bucuresti, Editura Paralela 45, 2003.

  12. Ruzgarin Tersi (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Istanbul, Mitos, 1993.

  13. Вътрешната страна на вятъра (Inner Side of the Wind)
    София, Колибри, 2007.

  14. Η εσωτερική πλευρά του ανέμου (Inner Side of the Wind)
    ΕΣΤΙΑΣ, ΑΘΗΝΑ, 1994.

  15. Vidinė vėjo pusė (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Lijetuvos rasitoju sajungos leidikla, Vilna, 2006.

  16. Tuule sisemine pool ehk romaan Herost ja Leandrosest (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Tallinn, Loomingu Raamatukogu, 2008.

  17. の裏側ヘーローとレアンドロスの物語, Kaze no uragawa (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Tokyo Zo Gensha, 1995.

  18. Param ŭi antchok (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Seoul, Goldenbough, 2008.

    (Sŏul, Hwanggŭm Kaji, 2008)
    Seoul, Lisem Publishing, 2016.

  19. ქარისშიგნითამხარე (Inner Side of the Wind)
    Tbilisi, 2010.

  20. Салхины дотоод тал (Inner Side of the Wind) (2)
    Улаанбаатар,
    Соёмбо пресс хэвлэлийн газар, 2012
    Улаанбаатар,
    МОНЦАМЭ агентлагийн хэвлэх, 2009

Overview

Two lovers in Belgrade, one from the 1700s, the other from the 1900s, reach out to each other across a gulf of time, in a story that parallels the myth of Hero and Leander.

*

The Inner Side of the Wind (surely one of the most poetic titles for any novel), a transtemporal love story that is almost formally odd and yet contrives to be as ultimately moving as the most poignant works of this surprisingly extensive sub-genre. Even here, Pavić does not succumb to the (overrated) temptations of linearity. The Inner Side of the Wind is a two part story and both parts are printed back to back, thus the tales (and the lovers) meet in the middle and only truly there; content and form have been alchemically transmuted into one substance.

*

Milorad Pavic, the brilliantly innovative author whose first novel, the phenomenal Dictionary of the Khazars, inspired readers to look at literature in a new and unique way, and whose second, Landscape Painted with Tea, virtually created a new set of directions by which to interpret fiction, now gives us The Inner Side of the Wind, a magically entertaining love story that spans two centuries. In his most personal and intimate work to date, Pavic parallels the myth of Hero and Leander, telling of two lovers in Belgrade, one from the turn of the eighteenth century and the other from early in the twentieth, who reach out to each other from across the gulf of time. So that the reader is afforded the opportunity to read the novel from either lover's point of view, it is approachable from either the front cover (Hero's story) or the back (Leander's). In this way, the lovers' paths converge both figuratively and physically, ultimately joining at the center of the book, no matter whose story one has chosen to explore first. In the playfully inventive manner in which it suggests new ways for language to shape human thought, The Inner Side of the Wind is everything we have come to expect from this remarkable writer: pure Pavic!

*

Pavic refines his experiments in his third equally startling and most accessible novel, The Inner Side of the Wind, or the Novel of Hero and Leander, in which he literally transforms the book as an object that we hold between our hands.

Milorad Pavić

The Inner Side of the Wind, or the Novel of Hero and Leander is a clepsydra novel. It has two front pages and a joint ending in the middle of the book. It needs to be read one and a half times in order to grasp the whole, and the book must be flipped over when you get to the middle. The reader can start from whichever side he likes, but those who start from Hero's side of this mythical tale will not see the same image of the world as those starting from the opposite side, Leander’s.

Reviews

Robert Coover (New York Times Book Review, 12. VI 1992):

Through print's long history there have been countless strategies to counter the line's power, from marginalia and footnotes to the creative innovations of novelists like Laurence Sterne, James Joyce, Raymond Queneau, Julio Cortazar, Italio Calvino and Milorad Pavic.

W. S. Di Piero (New York Times Book Review, 13. VI 1993):

Pavic dissolves the crystalline structure of conventional storytelling into fluid competing versions of truth. But he also possesses an ironist's supreme ability both to operate and witness his own narrative contraptions... The Inner Side of the Wind is a speedy book in which every sentence is what one character calls a "fabula rasa", an empty story crying out to be inhabited...

I don't want to make this book sound like an a historical, post-modern divertissement. In Mr. Pavic's universe, all is inconclusive, gaily but fatefully inconclusive. Hero's story is wracked by the uncertainties of life in the Balkans in the early 20th century. Leander's story never lets us forget the terrifying events of its time: invading Turkish warlords, flights of refugees and famine... And prodigies of nature animate the story with a disturbing pagan vivacity: icy water that can learn languages, birds whose odor kills other birds in flight, a barn owl that no one ever sees but that knows when the hearer of its voice will die.

When the adult Leander finally learns to read, he discovers the tale of the two famous lovers. "Perhaps Leander swam through time", he tells his teacher, "not through water". That is the journey Mr. Pavic plots for us in this marvelous book.

Robert Taylor (Boston Globe, 12. V 1993):

Considering the horrors currently emerging from Serbia, it is useful to be reminded that spark of humanity still smoulders there. The Serbian author Milorad Pavic's The Inner Side of the Wind transforms the legend of Hero and Leander into soaring verbal music that bridges two shores of time, our own and the late 17th century...

Pavic pursue his trademark sleight-of-hand: the reader can begin either with Hero's tale set in Belgrade and Prague in the 1920s and '30s, or, by flipping the book upside down and reading dorm the back, Leander's narrative set in 17th century southeastern Europe. Thus the shape of the novel duplicates the shape of the legend, since the latter deals with the lovers progressing toward each other. They meet in Pavic's novel in the exact center of the book...

Pavic's version does not suggest Byron, but Marc Chagall painting of weightless lovers floating gravity-free outside time... But you don't have to open Pavic with a classical dictionary et your elbow. The playful allusions are clever; still, the rules of realistic fiction, though stretched, ultimately prevail. The stories sprouting from the author's field of dreams are sturdily constructed and populated by plausible characters and exhibit ample suspense...

In a dark, tragicomic realm of barbarism, beauty and paradox, where "even in the century before last" physicists knew "that there were two eternities, not one", Pavic's prodigal imagery propels the lovers toward their twinned destinies.

Carey Harrison (San Francisco Chronicle, 30. V 1993):

The dismemberment of Yugoslavia is echoed in several ways in The Inner Side of the Wind, a novel by Milorad Pavic, who was perhaps that country's most important writer.

One half of the novel is set in an 18th century Balkan world overrun by foreign armies, reminding us how continuous slaughter has been in this troubled corner of Europe.

Los Angeles Time Book Review (16. V 1993):

Which way to start? Hero's story has most of the jokes, dreams and word games (plus a tale that she has written, about a condemned man who exits his soul to inhabit a woman's). Leander's story is more straightforward. A mason, he wanders the no man's land between the Austrian and Turkish armies and builds churches while everything is being destroyed. Pavic gives us a clue to Yugoslavia's current bloodletting – its centuries of being and chewed by rival empires – even as he demonstrates, both in the novel and by writing it, that the bloodletting isn't all.

Dominik Di Bernardi (Philadelphia Inquirer, 20 VI 1993):

Milorad Pavic may be one of Europe's premier fiction writers... His debut, The Dictionary of the Khazars, was a "lexicon" novel in which the reader composed a story from the entries in a mock-encyclopedia on a fictional community.

His second novel, Landscape Painted With Tea, presented a cross-word puzzle as a map through his novelistic territory.

In each case, the very notion of the Book was exploded, for Pavic invited his readers to compose and impose their own story lines upon his fictions. Each book multiplied between its covers and became as numerous as its readers.

Pavic refines his experiments in his third equally startling and most accessible novel, The Inner Side of the Wind, or the Novel of Hero and Leander, in which he literally transforms the book as an object that we hold between our hands.

He offers us a twin, intricately related tale named after a pair of mythological lovers, who in their Slavic incarnation are separated not merely by the Hellespont but by two centuries... And it is to Pavic's great credit that he invests his high-brow literary experiment with the giddy, anything-goes delights of a low-brow pop fantasy... And then there's his trademark style, a folk surrealism that creates a word where rivers have "aquascripts", signatures visible only two birds, and the air can be as "quiet as a freshly washed soul". The most radically transformed dimension in Pavic's world is time... This temporal fluidity is reflected in the history of the region itself. Pavic draws power from the centuries of turmoil in this land "between two empires ant three faiths, among languages that blow through there like the winds"...

Most important, by calling into question the very notion of whole and half, The Inner Side of the Wind simultaneously proposes a provocative vision both of the world and of the Book.

Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher, New York 1993:

This book can be read from either front cover or, by flipping it upside down, the back cover. The choice is yours. Milorad Pavic, the brilliantly innovative author whose first novel, the phenomenal Dictionary of the Khazars, inspired readers to look at literature in a new and unique way, and whose second, Landscape Painted With Tea, virtually created a new set of directions by which to interpret fiction, now gives us The Inner Side of the Wind, a magically entertaining love story that spans two centuries...

In the playfully inventive manner in which it suggests new ways for language to shape human thought, The Inner Side of the Wind is everything we have come to expect from this remarkable writer: pure Pavic!

World Literature Today , Summer 1992, vol. 66 N. 3:

Pavic is in the company of writers (Borges, Cortasar, and Eco come to mind) who have blazed new trails in modern fiction. Moreover, his stylistic brilliance lends his works a quality that in itself makes him well worth reading...

The Antioch Review , January 1, 1994, Newport, Mary Ellen A.

Pavic's exploration of the effect of nonlinear form on the tale continues. Two stories are placed end-to-end so they end at the same place. The ending is an explosion, a time of death fixed across centuries: personal in the 20th century, political in the 18th. Read either story first.

Pavic pours out a complicated tale in each. Images are concocted as music, teaching, death, and learning swim about. Sabers flash, monuments are built, and ultimately union of man and woman across time and space befalls in a moment of destruction.

Publishers weekly, Reviewed on: 05/03/1993

Like his cleverly designed Dictionary of the Khazars , which was printed in both male and female versions, Serbian writer Pavic's lyrical and brooding new work is inventively structured. It consists of two surrealistic and remarkably beautiful stories: ''Hero'' begins, conventionally, at the front of the book, and ''Leander'' begins when the book is turned over and opened at the ''back'' cover. The two are linked by bits and pieces of Greek myth. Pavic's Leander, born in the 17th century, works as a merchant, traveling between Belgrade and Constantinople. He is inducted into a monastic order and eventually gains renown as the builder of a fantastic tower at the Sava Gate in Belgrade. Landscapes are rendered desolate by pillaging Austrian and Turkish armies, and Leander is killed during a bloody battle--elements that resonate strongly and bitterly today. ''Hero'' set in the 1920s and '30s, describes a Serbian chemistry student who is eventually murdered by her jealous lover. Like Leander, Hero lives with foreknowledge of her death. Pavic has masterfully combined many facets of the Serbian psyche in this polished work.

From Library Journal

The traditional myth of Hero and Leander is exploded in these two updated, modern, and disparate tales from the pen of one of former Yugoslavia's best-known authors. Leander's plot is the more conventional of the two. His adventures, which take place in early 18th-century Belgrade, find him compulsively building Greek churches only to see them destroyed by Turkish or Christian armies. At the end of his odyssey, Leander returns home to construct, unwittingly, his pyre. Hero's tale, set at the beginning of the 20th century, is at time fantastical and absurd, its tone lighter and more playful than Leander's because the plot is not too serious. Adapting a classic, Pavic creates modern-day mythology but parallels the fate of the protagonists in the original. For large collections.
Olivia Opello, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse,

Reviews of the readers

  • It was hard to tell sometimes if this was amazing or just really ridiculous but either way I am consumed with the desire to read everything else he has ever written.

  • The Inner Side of the Wind is a flip book, presenting the reader with an immediate choice – which story do I read first? Or, more accurately, whose story do I read first, as the novel’s alternative title reveals it to be The Novel of Hero and Leander, and its division takes place along these lines, with one section entitled Hero and the other Leander. The two stories meet in the middle just as the mythical lovers met, Leander swimming across the Hellespont guided by Hero’s lamp. However, you must not imagine that this is something as straight-forward as a retelling of the myth from their separate points of view: neither the Hero nor the Leander of this novel are the lovers of Greek legend; and each half tells a different story, one set in the 17th century, the other in the early 20th.

  • Ever wondered if your life was connected to someone's? Ever thought that it depends NOT only on you? You can start reading the book from 2 sides. It doesn't matter, as where is the end of the book, there is a beginning. The heroes of the book meet right in the middle of it.