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Interview from Our Adventure In Croatia

This week for our regular feature “more adventures in Croatia” we welcome to our blog Douglas Cavanaugh, an American expat who for the past eighteen years has been living in Rijeka, a northern coastal town and principal seaport in Croatia.

In his spare time over the years, Douglas has written an action/spy/thriller novel set in Bosnia and many parts of Croatia, Dalmatia included, so we were very interested to hear the story of his own adventure in Croatia, and how he came to writing this action-packed book!


Michael Roach

Michael Roach is a regular performer at the annual Kastav Blues Festival in Kastav, Croatia. Michael is the founder of the European Blues Association and serves as its director of development, secretary, and newsletter editor. He specializes in acoustic blues and is a real good guy to know. Some of his music can be found here:

‘Philadelphia’ Jerry Ricks

Jerry Ricks was another acoustic Delta bluesman whom I had the pleasure of knowing before his unfortunate death in 2007. He had recently moved to Croatia and was planning to call Kastav his official hometown. Jerry mastered his craft under the guidance of some of the greatest legends in the history of the blues, including Son House, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Libba Cotton, Jesse Fuller, Mance Lipscomb, and Lonnie Johnson. A glorious recording of his can be found here:

Klapa Maslina

A klapa is a harmonized singing group, similar to a barbershop quartet, usually consisting of between five and fifteen members. Klapa groups are indigenous to Croatia and are most popular along the Dalmatian coast. The songs they sing are usually traditional Croatian ones and, while the music may not be to everyone’s taste, I have come to enjoy listening to this unique style of music. In fact, I can remember many fine evenings drinking wine and eating cheese and olives while enjoying the performance of a klapa.
This CD of the Klapa Maslina is a good example of a traditional Croatian klapa and would be an appropriate representation for a new listener of this style of music.

Interview from

Into Hell’s Fire is a story of heroism, tragedy, bravery and brutality. It describes many facets of human nature, such as the positive attributes of self-preservation, adaptation and the will-to-survive as well as the negative attributes of greed, deceit, cruelty, and how these traits intertwine. While the story is fast-paced and action-packed, the plot unfolds using the ideal dosage of descriptive detail of foreign cultures and exotic locations to create a fabulous page-turner.


Slavenka Drakulić

S. may very well be one of the strongest books about war you will ever read. . . .The writing is taut, precise, and masterful.”

Set in 1992, during the height of the Bosnian war, S. reveals one of the most horrifying aspects of any war: the rape and torture of civilian women by occupying forces. S. is the story of a Bosnian woman in exile who has just given birth to an unwanted child—one without a country, a name, a father, or a language. Its birth only reminds her of an even more grueling experience: being repeatedly raped by Serbian soldiers in the “women’s room” of a prison camp. Through a series of flashbacks, S. relives the unspeakable crimes she has endured, and in telling her story—timely, strangely compelling, and ultimately about survival—depicts the darkest side of human nature during wartime.


Today in Eastern Europe the architectural work of revolution is complete: the old order has been replaced by various forms of free market economy and de jure democracy. But as Slavenka Drakulic observes, “in everyday life, the revolution consists much more of the small things—of sounds, looks and images.” In this brilliant work of political reportage, filtered through her own experience, we see that Europe remains a divided continent. In the place of the fallen Berlin Wall there is a chasm between East and West, consisting of the different way people continue to live and understand the world. Little bits—or intimations—of the West are gradually making their way east: boutiques carrying Levis and tiny food shops called “Supermarket” are multiplying on main boulevards. Despite the fact that Drakulic can find a Cafe Europa, complete with Viennese-style coffee and Western decor, in just about every Eastern European city, the acceptance of the East by the rest of Europe continues to prove much more elusive.

In a series of beautiful, impassioned essays, Croatian journalist and feminist Drakulic provides a very real and human side to the Balkans war and shows how the conflict has affected her closest friends, colleagues, and fellow countrymen–both Serbian and Croatian. Includes five new essays not in the hardcover edition.

Robert Perišić

In his home country of Croatia, Robert Perisic is a bestselling author who came to prominence during the 1990s, writing with a clear anti-war sentiment. Today, he is considered one of the most important writers and journalists in the country. He has published award-winning nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and criticism in his native language.
When first published in Croatia in 2008, Our Man in Iraq spent eight weeks at the top of the country’s bestseller list and won the prestigious Jutarnji List award. On July 1, 2013, Croatia will draw global media attention when it accedes to the European Union. Our Man in Iraq is an unforgettable introduction to a vibrant Croatian voice we have been sorely missing here in North America, published in time to celebrate a new focus on the Balkan nation and its literary culture.