Culture of Lies


by Dubravka Ugresic

April 16, 2024
essays | pb | 260 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5"

The Culture of Lies is one of the most intelligent and lucid accounts of an appalling episode in history. It shows us the banality and brutality of nationalism and the way that nationalistic ideology permeates every pore of life. Ugrešić's acerbic and penetrating essays cover everything from politics to daily routine, from public to private life. With a diverse and unusual perspective, she writes about memory, soap operas, the destruction of everyday life, kitsch, the conformity of intellectuals, propaganda and censorship, the strategies of human manipulation and the walls of Europe which, she argues, never really did fall. 

Shot through with irony and sadness, satirical protest and bitter melancholy, The Culture of Lies is a gesture of intellectual resistance by a writer branded "a traitor" and "a witch" in Croatia. 

Translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth


About the Author:

Dubravka Ugresic is the author of six works of fiction, including The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, and six essay collections, including the NBCC award finalist, Karaoke Culture. In 2016, she was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature for her body of work. She went into exile from Croatia after being labeled a "witch" for her anti-nationalistic stance during the Yugoslav war. She lived in the Netherlands until her passing in March 2023.

About the Translator:

Celia Hawkesworth is the translator of numerous works of Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian literature, including Dubravka Ugresic’s The Culture of Lies for which she won the Heldt Prize for Translation in 1999. She also received the Best Translated Book Award for her translation of EEG by Daša Drndić.

Select Praise for Dubravka Ugresic:

"Splendidly ambitious. . . . A brilliant, enthralling spread of storytelling and high-velocity reflections. . . . She is a writer to follow. A writer to be cherished."—Susan Sontag

"A madcap wit and a lively sense of the absurd. . . . Filled with ingenious invention and surreal incident."—Marina Warner

"Dubravka Ugresic is the philosopher of evil and exile, and the storyteller of many shattered lives the wars in the former Yugoslavia produced. . . . This is an utterly original, beautiful, and supremely intelligent novel."—Charles Simic

"Ugresic is also affecting and eloquent, in part because within her quirky, aggressively sweet plot she achieves moments of profundity and evokes the stoicism innate in such moments."—Mary Gaitskill

"Never has a writer been more aware of how one narrative depends on another."—Joanna Walsh