On the Dalmatian coast in the small village of Gradac the sea is vast and blue and Mount Biokovo’s mirrored karst peaks tremble in it, embarrassed at its nakedness. It is here that my stories take place, revealing the harshness of post WWII life, and how a young girl copes with it. All the sixteen independent stories from the collection The Corpse in our Kuzina are tied by place, people, time, and a dying way of life. The wistful memories of my daily existence and imagination crisscross in these stories. The girl’s discoveries marry the grotesque and the beautiful. The eccentricities are normal in this village where everything is either exaggerated or denied: love, hate, duty, lore, death, lust, pride, shame, criticism. The characters are a product of my imagination.
The Corpse in our Kuzina is Anuska Smith’s debut work. Born in the kingdom of Yugoslavia, she lived through the WWII in Independent State of Croatia - a puppet state - under Italian and German protectorate. During the Italian occupation, she and her family were the internees in the Fascist Italian concentration camp for a short time. After the Capitulation of Italy she became a resident No. 21598 of the refugee camp El Shatt on the Sinai Peninsula where the Allies led the population of her region to safety, before the Nazi invasion. After the War she lived in Tito’s Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia until 1971 when she came to America. But when she visits Gradac these days she is in the Independent Republic of Croatia, her home still on the same spot on the white pebble beach of the Adriatic Sea. She is married since 1978, has one son, and after living twenty-three years in San Diego she lives now in Tucson with her husband Adrian.
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