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An Extract from Farewell, Cowboy by Olja Savičević

            When I accompany Ma to the highway, the heat rises from the earth: by seven it’s up to one’s ankles. On dry mornings, just after midday, it starts grilling down straight from the sky. In town it’s worst around five pm - the salt air begins to sweat and everything that moves passes limply through treacle, while the song-of-a-million sounds is transformed into a steady, electric hum that hypnotizes.

            Although she’s perfectly upright when she sits or stands, when she’s walking Ma rolls over the edges of a line. Cisterns and refrigerated-fish lorries hurtle past a few centimetres from her shoulder. Maybe there’s just no place any more for a non-driver in traffic, I reflect.

            ‘They should be shut up in pedestrian gulags, those idiots don’t realize their life’s on the line,’ my sister said once, I think it was when we were driving in her ex- husband’s turbo off-roader to Daniel’s funeral, and some kids suddenly tore across the road.

            ‘Pedestrians have to be loved. Pedestrians created the world. And when it was all done, cars appeared,’ I said. Everyone looked at me as though I was nuts. ‘It says that in a book somewhere,’ I added.


The English translation of Farewell, Cowboy was published in 2015 by Istros Books.