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Hamam Balkania

A Novel and Other Stories

Vladislav Bajac
Hamam Balkania

About the Book

Disclaimer: This book is for serious readers only, and was not written with the pulp fiction 6th-grade-level reader in mind. Pick up Hamam Balkania at your own risk. (And enjoy every word lovingly spilled onto the pages by award-winning author Vladislav Bajac and translator Randall A. Major.)

“One of the most ambitious novels of our time.”
— Goffredo Fofi, Internationale

“A whole new way to tell a story…”
— John Ralston Saul, President of PEN International

“Zen work, historical novel, philosophical diary, superb exercise of modesty…”
— Fabio de Propris, Il Manifesto

“A work of stunning intellectual, structural and narrative complexity, written in clear, engaging and witty prose.”
— Drew Adamek, Valley Advocate

“A meticulously structured tale of friendship and redemption.”
— Marcus Agar, Wild Rooster, London

Vladislav Bajac’s novel Hamam Balkania has won five awards, been printed in seven bestselling editions, and is finally coming to North America. In the tradition of great modern Serbian novelists, Bajac twists and weaves a tale between old and new, modern and rusted, East and West, water and fire. It’s not hard to see why this historical novel has been translated into 15 languages and become a bestseller in its home country.


Bajac’s tale dances between its two plots and threads as if it were a couple dancing with no space between them. His prose is at times convoluted, and at times poetic, but always gripping, and fiercely organized.

The author’s home country of Serbia is fascinated with its Ottoman roots, and this novel is no exception. Bajac takes the lives of ancient figures and weaves them together with flashing, real, and dirty characters from Western society’s recent past — his stories at times dipping their pen into the well of memoir. Bajac has rubbed elbows with Leonard Cohen, and shared words and stages with literary greats — none of that is lost on the reader here.

Two stories collide in the reader’s mind, not on the pages, as if learning two different histories from two separate professors. This is at once a story of friendship, and a book of warning: do we really know that which we believe we know so well?


Hamam Balkania received the Balkanika Award for the best novel in the Balkans for 2007/2008, the “Isidora Sekulic” Award for the best book in 2008 and the “Hit Liber” Award for the bestselling book in the same year.

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61343-046-0

Softcover ISBN: 978-1-61343-047-7

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61343-048-4

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