Daša Drndić obituary

Croatian author who shone a spotlight on her country’s complicity in the Holocaust

The author Daša Drndić, who has died of lung cancer aged 71, was incapable of writing a sentence that was not forceful, fierce or funny – or all three simultaneously. A major theme in her life’s writing, which comprised a dozen novels and some 30 plays, has been the overlooked (or deliberately omitted) complicity of her native Croatia in the Holocaust, expressed in a style that has been described by critics as “neo-Borgesian”.

Daša disliked that description as much as that of “documentary fiction” – another attempt to capture her particular meld of historical fact with personal testimony, and of meditations with memorabilia (bus tickets, concert programmes, above all apparently random lists and photographs, all of which build their own story). Her literary hybridity lends power to what are often stories about insignificant individuals who become sadistic ...