Every Day, Every Hour by Natasa Dragnic
By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Author: Natasa Dragnic
Format: Trade Paperback, 266 pages
Publisher: Bond Street Books, Doubleday Canada
Pub Date: June 5, 2012
Every Day, Every Hour by Natasa Dragnic is a hyperbolic romance in a small town called Makarska in Croatia that begins from childhood between a shy boy named Luka whose own anxiety causes him to have fainting spells and an extroverted, exuberant girl named Dora whose beauty and demands cause both drama and awe.
The narrative begins in a juvenile tone most probably because the voices speak as young children. But, even as the story progresses and the children grow into young men and women, the language remains for the most part, juvenile. It is difficult to decipher whether this is a hindrance on behalf of the author’s inability to write better, if omissions were made in context by its translation, or if it was indeed intentional in order to emphasize the over-sweeping indulgences of romance?
While the story is centred around the two characters, Luka and Dora, they are surrounded by a cast of characters who are mildly amused, if not curious or adamantly vehement and bewildered by their passion and connection to one another.
Zoran, Luka’s father understands the weight of love and the burden of responsibility. Ana, Luka’s sister, whose impatience with the fluttering of romance far outweighs the need to support it due to her firm belief in responsibility and obligation. And Klara, whose blinding love and desperation moves her to succumb to a cold and lifeless marriage.
While the premise of the story is an admirable one—an overpowering love that surpasses other forms of passion, even time itself—the writing fails itself in its over-simplification and cliché, which, rather than fully evoke the empathy of its readers towards the passion of the characters’ romance, may indeed deter them from it due to the tone of its exaggerated melodrama.
The characters themselves are deeply flawed, Luka, more than Dora, in his inability to fester courage to speak, stand for, and affirm his professions of love through a simple act that would undoubtedly free him to do so.
As for Dora, though a much braver spirit than Luka in her ability to go after what she wants with a voracity and fervour, does not, in her desire to claim the love that rightfully belongs to her, ever directly face the obstacle that hinders her freedom from being with her lover.
What could have been a simple solution made from first, common sense and an inner courage to do what is correct based on such strong emotions, is instead wrongly amplified into a convulsion of unnecessary complication.
Nevertheless, it makes for a dramatic story that will either make you want to strangle Luka in his cowardice and ineptitude or smugly renounce his romance as an over-indulgent frolic and fancy that supports his need to escape into the creative art of his painting and imagination. Or it may also coerce you into turning the page so that you, like its characters, can finally be put out of anxiety, if not misery, by clinging to the last ember of hope in discovering the outcome of this professed, voluptuous romance.
Perhaps the moral of the story lies in the dangers found in all-consuming love without the reigns of logic, self-control, and temperance to ground its bearing.
Though the story is a light to its impossibility, I’d like to think of its potential in the real world as one that would succeed should lovers involved ever use a morsel of intelligence, practicality, and a fervent spirit to battle and stand firm for what is valued most: true and pure love against the uncomfortable, if not difficult circumstances that it finds itself.
How can circumstances be that difficult, if for love?
The crux of that question will be one you may answer in reading this book—even if it is one that its own characters cannot.
A special thank you to Bond Street Books, Doubleday Canada, and Random House of Canada publishers for providing me with a media copy of this book in exchange for an unpaid, honest review.
This book was read as part of The Random Reading Challenge: Debut Novels from July to August, 2012.
How far would you go and what would you do in fighting for true love?