Aleksandar Tišma (1923–2003) was a Serbian novelist, short-story writer, journalist, editor, translator, and poet. Having grown up in Novi Sad, Serbia, in 1944, he returned there from Budapest to join Tito’s partisan forces. Following the end of World War II he worked as a journalist for more than a decade before publishing his first literary work, the collection of poems Naseljeni svet (The Populated World) in 1956, followed by more poetry, stories, a play, critical essays, and novels. In 1976 he gained new prominence with the release of his major novel, The Use of Man; among the many recognitions he would subsequently receive are the NIN, NOLIT, and Ivo Andrić awards. Between 1992 and 1995 Tišma went into political exile in France. Other titles of his available in English translation are The Book of Blam and Kapo.
A powerful work that tracks the intertwined lives of a group of high-school classmates in Yugoslavia during WWII: Jew, Nazi, resistance fighter, and cold-blooded killer. “Its power is on a scale normally associated with our favorite (dead) authors…. The world will not look quite the same after you’ve read this book.