By Goran Petrović
Translated by Peter Agnone
At the Lucky Hand, aka The Sixty-Nine Drawers, is an award-winning Serbian novel that explores what it means to read and be a reader – ultimately acting as a love letter to the power of literature.
Publication date: Summer 2020
At The Lucky Hand is an account of the different love stories that revolve around a very peculiar book: My Legacy, by Anastas Branica. At first glance, this is a book where there is no plot or characters, only descriptions. However, that is what makes it a self-sufficient space, a world that can only be inhabited by its readers, which Anastas has written in order to live, within the book, with his beloved. Through what Petrovic called “simultaneous reading”, it is possible to coincide with other people in the same book, and not only that, but also to live beyond what is simply written. Within this experience of reading-while-reading, participants are able to access a meeting place that is outside of reality. How else can we describe what happens to us when we read with true conviction, when books become life, palpable, manifested, when books become part of our physiology, when love is incarnated in the reading that two strangers perform at the same time, hoping that time will be abolished by the mere fact of fixing their gaze on a page? In short, what the reader of this book will surely experience, along with all the other readers who coincide in the experience, will be a state of joyous stupefaction. Above all else, the book is a love letter to the power of literature.
Goran Petrović studied Yugoslav and Serbian literature at the University of Belgrade in the Faculty of Philology. He received the most prominent award in Serbian literature, the NIN Award, in 2000, for his novel At the Lucky Hand. Currently he works and lives in Belgrade. Petrović is a member of the Serbian Literary Association, the Serbian PEN Centre and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Petrović’s novels and books of selected stories have been published in over fifty editions translated in French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Polish, Ukrainian, Macedonian, English and Dutch.
"Goran Petrović proves to be a master of lyrical storytelling and dreaming." —Jovan Delic, juror for Ivo Andrić Grand Prize for Lifetime Achievement
"Above all, the basis of the story is clearly that books are life and life is books, with the two intertwining and overlapping continually... Imaginative and most original and you cannot help but be impressed with all the ins and outs of the tale." —The Modern Novel
“One could spend a pleasant hour wandering inside nearly every evocative sentence of At the Lucky Hand...Irresistibly engaging and virtuosically crafted, At the Lucky Hand marries high theory with high drama in spaces so quiet and invisible, that their liveliness takes one completely by surprise.” —Asymptote Journal
“Petrović creates a world all about the passion for books: A series of detective and love stories that revolve around bibliophilic obsessions. In the process, he explores what it means to be a reader, and how fantasies transmute our reality.”—Asymptote Book Club