Books: Balkan Gothic

HE, THE FATHER (313 pp.) — Frank Mlakar—Harper ($3).

Young Osip Princevich hesitated to leave Slovenia for America, even though a lot of other fellows were heading west. He felt bound to his village by ties that he could not put into words. It was his copper-haired sweetheart, Lenka, who persuaded him. Osip beat up his father and stole the old man's life savings to get money for the trip.

From this violent beginning, 37-year-old, Cleveland-born Author Frank Mlakar (rhymes with blocker) carves out a Balkan gothic tale. For Osip Princevich, life in America was no bowl of cherries; it became a nightmare...

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