Lyrical and symbolic, The Trojan Mare by Marina Šur Puhlovski is a tale of the mutations of a country, a woman named Rosalie, and the Madman called Moses, a man she smuggled into the house. Translated by Graham McMaster, this book offers a compelling metaphor for the Yugoslavian society and political atmosphere in the period from 1929 to the late 1980s. Readers encounter characters that navigate the corrupt system that operates within the prism of lethargy, and while some are smart enough to make this system work for them, others are trapped in the machinations of pseudo-politicians, unable to make the system work in their favor. It is against this backdrop that Rosalie evolves. This is a simple book that will appeal to poetry lovers, but it offers multiple interpretations and thought-provoking narratives.
Goosegirl seems to be the symbol of the fertility of the country that should nurture its people, but one that is mishandled and broken at so many levels of its political machinery. References to her premature pains and being kicked in the stomach by the madman are symbolic of the recklessness of those who rape a country and rob it of its power to create healthy spaces for the citizens. There are tales of broken dreams, of people getting set up and made to bear the consequences of the wrong choices of others. Readers will find the behavior of Madman peculiar and won't help but feel sad for the husband of the Tailor turned Gastarbeiter, who finally comes ''home from Germany, representing himself as little short of a beggar, intending to reveal the secret of his suitcase only on the birthday of his eldest son, not knowing that he was not to live to see it…'' Politics, love, corruption, and betrayal are among the compelling themes that are dominant in this book. The Trojan Mare is a stunningly imagined historical tale that is skillfully rendered in poetry — the story of a time, place, and broken people. It is brimming with humor and biting political satire.