Mato Lovrak

Pero Kvržica’s Gang. Notes

Children are making an adventure of the renovation of an old mill…

There’s a certain kind of thrill and a particular joy to be found in restoring an object or a place/space to its function. I was always pretty partial to such endeavors so it’s no wonder why I am still mentioning this book as one of childhood favorites.

Another reason why this book was a dear one lies in a fact that a child gets a special satisfaction in reading about children being smarter and braver than their parents, relatives, teachers – adults in general.

While the elders are spending their time arguing pro et contra and letting the mill rot (bad politics and heavy lobbying), here is a group of primary school children in action – doing what is right, what needs to be done. And they are dedicated not to let anything or anyone jeopardize their project.

They get seriously punished for coming home late almost every day, and still, none of them wish to say a word to their parents about why they are ‘behaving badly’. They are aware of the fact that the confession would bring and end to their affair. Adults would ruin it all, so the only solution is to surprise them with the job done.

There’s one thing that came as not so pleasant a surprise – the style.

Somehow, I had a memory, an image of a narrative that extensively described the work done in and around the mill. This proved to be far from the truth… Sentences rush. Like time is short. One gets a feeling that they’re jumping on and over each other in a heated race to reach the end. There is no flow and it was very, very difficult reading it. It felt like I was constantly pulled forward, barely having the time to grasp the content of the sentences… I wonder if it felt the same fifteen years ago.