Death and the Dervish

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ISBN 978-0-8101-6803-9

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ISBN 978-0-8101-1297-1

Cloth Text – $69.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1296-4
Publication Date
August 1996
Page Count
473 pages
Trim Size
4 3/4 x 8

Death and the Dervish

Mesa Selimovic

Death and the Dervish is an acclaimed novel by Bosnian writer Mesa Selimovic. It recounts the story of Sheikh Nuruddin, a dervish residing in an Islamic monastery in Sarajevo in the eighteenth century during the Ottoman Turk hegemony over the Balkans. When his brother is arrested, he must descend into the Kafkaesque world of the Ottoman authorities in his search to discover what happened to him. He narrates his story in the form of an elaborate suicide note, regularly misquoting the Koran. In time, he begins to question his relations with society as a whole and, eventually, his life choices in general.

Hugely successful when published in the 1960s, Death and the Dervish is an enduring classic made into a feature length film in 1974.
About the Author

Mesa Selimovic (1910–1982) was born in Tuzla, Bosnia. A writer of numerous award-winning novels, including The Fortress, he was among the most popular novelists in Yugoslavia.

"A famous novel...that generates enormous power—worthy of comparison with Selimovic's great countryman and forerunner Ivo Andric." —Kirkus
"Selimovic portrays a man hopelessly out of touch with himself and others, viciously in need of being right, secretly coveting power for himself. Groveling before authority, he knowingly betrays innocent people, yet rationalizes everything with perverted interpretations of the Koran. His brother's death, towards the beginning of the novel, and the near-destruction of the community's purest and most generous soul, by the end, enclose a tortuous psychological exposition of the perils of delusion and the ease with which fear destroys the most unyielding moral good." —Publishers Weekly

"If there is any alternative to the bleak despair that permeates Death and the Dervish, it could be found in the solidarity and love between members of a family and friends. This simple message is timely, and badly needed in Bosnia today." —World Literature Today