Summer in the South

Review

“Summer in the South”(1959) is, in fact, an elaboration of a recurrent idea of Andrić’s found in Unrest and “Signs by the Roadside. Sometimes by the sea, which he loved, Andrić found himself thinking of the perfect salvation of simply dissolving into its salty, iodine evaporation.

The story describes a staid and apparently very ordinary Austrian teacher on holiday on the Southern Adriatic coast. The sensation of renewal and refreshment from the sea, sun and salt air is described in physical terms: “Refreshed by swimming, the sun and the sea-water, he felt as though he were dressed in light, festive, flower-white and scented clothes, and that he was himself blossoming and growing together with them and with everything around him.” Increasingly, the teacher becomes susceptible to tricks of the air, and the smoke of the cigarette that seems intoxicating in these surroundings: he begins to feel himself part of the heady atmosphere itself. The teacher disappears without trace, mystifying not only his wife and the local police but the whole population of the little town, who find the uncertainty surrounding the whole curious affair disconcerting and uncomfortable.