This collection of twenty-one short stories, which can also be read as a novel since the tales are connected, is entirely set in a psychiatric institution, where the predominantly first-person narrator is often, in several waves, brought in and hospitalized. As is typical of Lapuh Maležič, the very title of the book is distorted and suggestive, as she hints along with the mental also at strain, difficulty, while flirting with a more established term for members of the heavy metal music subculture. At the forefront of the narrative are, thus, individuals who are problematic – also for themselves, not just for society – and who find themselves in psychiatric treatment. And sometimes it is difficult for them to recall their past transgressions, which require therapy that can be quite radical, violent, leaving visible and psychological traces of submission. Just as radical are the side effects of the powerful antipsychotics to which the subject, the object of this therapy, is subjected in a few of the stories; these are cycles of little deaths, and often violent injections or involuntary taking of pills is described as a way of dying, as a toppling into the abyss, as a temporary shutdown. But the collection also bears the opposite of this weighty and sharp metaphor: it is playful and relaxed in its linguistic movement; often in these stories one sees the ambiguous and the polysemous mixing sublimely and pathetically with the most poignant of refrains and references from mass culture that are evoked by popular songs and references to such mass culture icons as Roberto Benigni or Carlos Castanedo.
Original title: Težkomentalci
Edited by: Tina Kozin
Afterword: Matej Bogataj
Afterward translation: Marjeta Drobnič
Price: 15 €