His wife has left him; his father's farm is burning, but he hates his father anyway; he walks into town and has a series of strange encounters, with a prostitute, an old school friend, a Muslim preacher and a group of leprous refugees. The book is suffused with a self-hatred and disgust with life, with lines such as "being alive is an unquestionably tragic fact which can induce nothing but tears"; "everyone becomes unbearable once we get to know them"; "only children and idiots can have friends"; "Art always lies"; "In the end I'll die, and when they've buried me everyone will hold me in contempt". It makes Samuel Beckett look positively cheery; yet the relentless pessimism has an oddly invigorating effect.
The Son follows one night in the life of a hero with no name, a writer whose life is falling apart. That afternoon, his wife left him, while for many years he has been in conflict with his father, who blames him for his mother’s death. Incapable of finding inner calm, he leaves into the warm, Mediterranean night, in the city of Ulcinj, itself a multilayered mixture of European dimensions, African influences, and the communist past. The hero of The Son is a man who can’t adapt to new times and rules. On his journey into the night, he meets an assortment of characters: a piano student from Vienna who has abandoned his musical career and converted to Islam, a radical Christian preacher and a group of refugees from Kosovo. In the style of Mihail Bulgakov, the characters meet in the old city of Ulcinj, at the Square of the Slaves – a location where the pirates who lived in the city until the 19th century would bring and sell captured slaves, including Miguel de Cervantes, according to legend.
The novel was awarded the European Literature Prize (2011) based on the synopsis and recommendation provided by the Montenegro jury.