“Beautiful Day For Drinkopoly” starts with a fantastic opening paragraph. The first line, where the narrator declares “My intelligence is above the average,” (Gregur, 93), hooks readers in with an intriguing declaration, before building on that observation to create setting and mood (comparing his intelligence to those at the table, then explaining where the table’s at and why he’s sitting there). From there, the paragraph introduces the first conflict without breaking the stream of character-revealing observations from our “above average intelligence” Macedonian writer of a narrator. On the whole, the voice of “Beautiful Day For Drinkopoly” stays stellar throughout. Note how disdainful this character talks about the dummies and literal Dodos in his life… then notice the simple sentences he uses to talk to you.
So, yeah, it’s good. Go check it out.
You were expecting higher concluding praise, perhaps? So was I. On reflection, “Beautiful Day For Drinkopoly” doesn’t leave much of an impact. It’s more of a character study— repetitive even as it entices readers to follow a writer that, so we’re clear, describes some of the thoughts I occasionally think. But this intelligent and often internally arrogant blogger wasn’t always like that, growing from his start and changing until the end. This narrator starts, and ends, bitter and haughty and alone. If you only read that first great paragraph, you won’t be that much more enlightened about the narrator than anyone who reads the other five pages. Maybe the ending, where the speaker climbs over a large mound of earth, builds on earlier concepts by revealing how fleeting and mortal our narrator’s “big intelligent head” (Gregur, 98) is. Which is only a slight exacerbation on previous themes and not much else in the story can… look, it takes five minutes to read and it’s damn solid writing, all right? Don’t let me discourage you.
Marko Gregur not only received acclaim as a poet, but his works have been celebrated outside of his native Croatia. The main English-language link I could find about him is this 2014 interview. I might seem down on “Beautiful Day For Drinkopoly,” but that’s because it’s sharing space with some amazing fiction— it’s still above average, and still worth your time.
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