In addition to Tomšič’s “Istrian work” there is, anchored in his prose as a central character, the image of the energetic and strong woman who is often subjected to the harsh trials of life but who, precisely in exceptional situations, acquits herself well. […] However, if in Tomšič’s prose of the 1990s the key female figure is a young rural woman who travels to the big town to sell home-grown produce and eggs […], in the novel Grenko morje (Bitter sea, 2002), as well as in its “sequel” novellas collected in Južni veter (Southwind, 2006), this role is taken over by “Aleksandrinke.” These were women from the Gorizia region who made their way to Egypt to work as wet-nurses, nannies, cooks, etc., for wealthy families there.
On the one hand their fate was certainly tragic, since to earn money they were compelled to leave behind their infant children and husbands – some never to return (and their tragic destiny is masterfully articulated by Tomšič in Bitter sea). And yet, on the other hand, there were also some who had clearly opted for another type of life and who, therefore, cast off old ways and patterns. They were propelled by a deep desire for a free, unencumbered way of life. They were world travellers, cosmopolitans of sort who, bedecked with courage and ingenuity, travelled the world by steamship, without knowledge of foreign languages, without adequate education or culture. Eventually they became real ladies and versant in many languages. They went to the movies, some even to the theatre and to other cultural events. In other words, they became universally well-informed, living windows to the world, so to speak. […] It is to these somewhat less tragic figures that Tomšič devotes his detailed literary attention in the poetically resonant Southwind, a collection of stories which was shortlisted for the Fabula prize for the best Slovenian short story collection.
From Eva Verbnjak’s Foreword
Original title: Južni veter
Edited by: Tanja Petrič
Afterword: Eva Vrbnjak
Price: 10,00 EUR
The virtue of Marjan Tomšič’s writing lies in the refined intuition with which he links people of various cultural backgrounds, beliefs and worldviews. The narrators, simultaneously and magically, move within the present, an apocalyptic future and the past, where the roots of our current homelessness and depersonalization lie. Marjan Tomšič, in an original way, weaves story to story, setting traps of ellipses and hyperboles before the reader, achieving the high suspense of the fabula and the intoxicating, enticing recognisability of the sujets. In his narrative approaches he is unique, but at the same time he follows the tradition of the finest of story-tellers from the Roman and Arabic classics.
Milan Dekleva, Foreword to the Slovenian edition
Little literary sweets, in a juicily sunny coastal language, with a slightly archaic narrative, as if we were reading vespers. With just the right moralism to keep blandness at bay. The subtle stories about the destinies of the “aleksandrinke,” an array of women ranging from great loves to white harem slaves, from naïve young women who want to get rich quick, to mature mothers who sacrifice themselves for their families. Stories of Slovenian women toiling away in exotic surroundings.
Mateja Hrastar, Mladina