Readers' Favorite

January 10, 2024

Split by Alida Bremer ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

It’s 1936. The seaside-resort village of Split on the Adriatic coast bustles. The tourist spots are booming, passenger steamers dot the harbor, and Jewish émigrés have found tenuous refuge from persecution. But as war in Europe looms, Split is also a nest of spies, fascists, and smugglers—and now, a locale suspiciously scouted by a German Reich film crew. Then one summer morning it becomes the scene of a murder investigation when a corpse is found entangled in fishing nets in the port.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of translated fiction novel Split by Alida Bremer
January 2024; Amazon Crossing; 978-1662507045
audio, ebook, print (271 pages); translated fiction

I enjoy reading translated fiction. I thIf ink reading literature that was meant for the audience of another country is a great way to experience a culture I may never get to visit. Case in point, with Split it is set in 1930s Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia no longer exists and while it did exist in my lifetime, I know very little about the kingdom (I didn't realize it was kingdom until I read this novel). Alida Bremer is from Split, Croatia so she provides an insider perspective to the novel.

Given the location and time period, I thought this would be WWII historical fiction. And there is a lot of discussion of the German Reich, but Split is actually a murder mystery. While the murder is the event that the rest of the plot revolves around sometimes it takes a back seat to the political discussion. It isn't like the typical murder mystery. We only get snippets of the police investigation. Instead, we see the corruption and political intrigue of the day. 

With some people in Yugoslavia identifying more as Italian there is of course quite a bit of talk about fascism and Mussolini. Germany uses the Adriatic coast as the backdrop for many of their "movies" (aka propaganda). So the German Reich gets some mention. Communism and Free Masons are pretty predominant. From other novels I've read, communism was a big concern during this time but Free Masons have never been mentioned so I found that aspect of the novel interesting.

It is a murder mystery, but I felt like it was more of a cultural survey as we saw daily life. So in a lot of ways, it is a slice-of-life novel. Given the title, that makes sense as it does seem like the point of the novel is to showcase the town during this period of time.

Split is a fishing town and I liked the fishing and ocean imagery used. At times it was almost poetic. I was not crazy about the dream sequence. I also had trouble with the structure of the story. It jumps around among the characters and sometimes it makes the story feel disjointed and a little difficult to follow.

If you enjoy reading translated fiction to learn about a place, person, or period of time, then this book is worth your time.

Buy Split at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us. Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter today! Or Follow Girl Who Reads with Bloglovin. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Post a Comment