He dreamt, he told me, that a voice explained to him that he was not paying enough attention to Serbian writers.
He knew that was true, he said, and determined to rectify the situation. He would list them all for the world to see (without diacritical marks, which are especially difficult in dreams):
Ivo Andric, Aleksandar Tisma, Milorad Pavic, Borislav Pekic, Danilo Kis
Zarko Radakovic, David Albahari, Dragan Velikic, Svetislav Basara, Dragan Aleksic
so far so good, he dreamt, but what of the others?
Shouldn’t Miljenko Jergovic and Muharem Bazdulj also be included, although they have become Bosnian and clearly aren’t Serbs although they write in the language that once fostered “unity and brotherhood”?
And if they are included, then also the now Croatian Miroslav Kreleza, Ranko Marinkovic, Slavenka Drakulic, and Dubravka Ugresic?
Yes, he concluded, in a dream he can still dream of Yugoslavia.
And perhaps, then, although they write in English, also Charles Simic, Josip Novakovich, Tea Obreht, and Aleksandar Hemon?
There, he thought, I have paid enough attention.
No, he told me later, I must have read them all to make that claim, and I should read them in what I must now distinguish as Bosnian, Serbian, or Croatian.
And, he said finally, who knows whose work I have missed entirely. I’ll never sleep easy again.