D Mrkich

D. Mrkich, author of five Commoners titles

Dan Mrkich is an Ottawa writer, translator and career federal public servant. He was born in the Kraina district of what was at that time Yugoslavia and moved to Canada at age 19. He has worked as a steel worker, lumberjack and travelled the world. He received a degree from Carleton University and worked for the federal government, latterly in Foreign Affairs, for most of his life. He is the father of two boys and a girl and has worked tirelessly to preserve and promote his Serbian cultural heritage through his writing and translations.

Author of:

Nikola Tesla: The European Years

D. Mrkich takes a fresh look at the early life and times of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the inventor of alternating current, the Tesla Coil, induction motors, radio (in 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Marconi’s patent in favour of Tesla), steam turbine, fluorescent light, remote-control, and numerous other inventions in the generation and transmission of electric power. This book describes Tesla’s genius, his attachment to his Serbian roots, and why he left Europe for America at the age of 28.

EAN: 9780889701137 ISBN: 0-88970-113-X Quality paperback, 5½ x 8½, 157 pp, with illustrations and photographs.  $24.95

Mountain Laurel is translated by D. Mrkich. Petar II Petrović Njegoš, Prince-Bishop (Vladika) of Montenegro from 1830 to 1851, is the Serbian national poet. In Yugoslavia, his principal works, Mountain Laurel, Stephen the Pretender and The Light of the Microcosm, are widely read, performed and quoted — especially Mountain Laurel, his best work.
Mountain Laurel is an epic drama set in the bitter wilderness of Montenegro, where towards the close of the 17th century, four or five clans – Serbs who survived the destruction of their medieval kingdom – struggle to escape subjugation and to keep alive the spark of freedom and ferment of their nationhood. It is a heroic, almost Homeric, society and in this harsh environment, men are warriors and their life is measured only by their manliness and glory in battle. In such circumstances, weaker Serbs supporting the invading Turks are given short shrift. Mountain Laurel describes the agonizing decision of the Serbs of the day to massacre traitors in their midst. But Mountain Laurel is more than an epic drama or a heroic poem; it is a treasure house of folk wisdom, rough humour, a search for life with honour and an ode to national survival.
This fourth edition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Njegoš includes a chart of the royal lineage of the Njegoš family, a map of Montenegro of the time, selected reproductions of the manuscript and the first Serbian printing, Njegoš’ will, plus an introduction by Nobel Laureate Ivo Andrić.

ISBN 978- 0-88970-109-1 Quality Paperback 100 pages, with illustrations. 5½ x 8½ 2005 Edition  $16.95 EAN: 9780889701090

Summer was only beginning: a memoir of James Dean

This is the first Canadian book about James Dean (1931-1955), legend and movie icon, the star of such films as East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. It explores James Dean’s background in his hometown of Fairmount, Indiana – which could be the hometown of any celebrity – how it had influenced him, reacted to his fame, used him. Extensive photos and illustrations including Dean’s army draft form and later death certificate. Canadian author D. Mrkich presents Dean primarily through Dean’s own words. But Mrkich has also talked to James Dean’s relatives and neighbours,
a number of whom had not been interviewed before. This is a taut and original book, a personal and affectionate tribute to an extraordinary, complex man and his lasting influence.

Men’s Culture & History Series
ISBN 0-88970-100-8 paperbound 5½ x 8½”  $14.95
EAN: 9780889701007

Kosovo: The Song of the Serbs
Recreated here for the first time in any language as one unified, book length poem, the central theme of Kosovo is the Serbs’ defeat at the hands of the Turks in historic battle on Kosovo Field, June 15, 1389 (June 28 by modern calendar).
Following the catastrophy at Kosovo, the Serbs created a body of folk poetry which focussed on the significant, Kosovo-related personalities and events, interpretting them according to the consequences and ultimate effect these had on posterity.
Here poetry and history meet and become part of the national character, thought, speech, conscience — a collective experience of an entire people. A good companion to “Mountain Laurel.”
Quality paperback, 5½ x 8½, 246 pp, 26 illus., 1998
ISBN: 0-88970-075-3  $24.95

Passengers to Points North and other stories
Todd Seabrook, successful, middle-aged, can no longer conveniently forget that as a young man, he had fathered a child with another man’s wife.
Passengers to Points North contrasts the work world of bureaucratic Ottawa to a dying mining community in Northern Ontairo, where Todd grew up and made, as he view it, his “moral failure” over half a lifetime ago.
Seabrook, apparently happy in his traditional family, returns to Emmaus to reach out to those he once left behind.
Todd Seabrook’s dilemma is every man’s need to return to face his own judgment of his moral responsibility evaded.

A Prisoner in Seoul and The Weather of The Heart are shorter stories about Todd Seabrook which give a glimpse into the complexity, doubt and regret beneath the surface of this outwardly-conventional man.

Quality paperback, 5½ x 8½, 103 pp, 26 illus., 2004
ISBN: 978-88970-119-9  $16.95

Of Times and Places: A miscellany

Of Times and Places is a selection of short pieces D. Mrkich wrote, fitfully, over many years, and on a variety of subjects. The subjects include: wars and conflicts, health, environment, science & literature.

Much of this writing has been published before, in such diverse publications as National Geographic, Time, Ottawa Citizen and Serbian Press.

The form, too, is variant: from letters to essays, to print media, poems, even political speeches. Geographically, the writings traverse from North America to the Balkans, to China and more.

But whatever the times or places, subject matter or form, a certain intellectual and moral constancy runs through this book.

Quality paperback, 5½ x 8½, 105 pp, 26 illus., 2005
ISBN: 978-88970-112-9  $16.95


Velimir Karan escapes from Yugoslavia to the “faroff’ world and dreams of opportunity. Rootless and displaced, he’s rejected in his attempt to immigrate to the United States but accepted as a farm labourer to Canada. Here’s a gritty, humorous view into the community of ethnic workers, their view of Canada and their mother countries. Velimir goes to school and Canadianizes his name to Val Karran, seeking somewhere to belong, justification for a life – redemption. Still an outsider, he travels the world, revisits his home town in Yugoslavia only to discover he doesn’t belong there, either. Returning to Canada, he’s employed as a civil servant, marries and has children. His reputation for reliable but unimaginative work advances his career but he still feels an outsider. A trip to the United Nations as Canada’s Human Rights Co-ordinator gives him an air of success – which he tries to reconcile with the weight of his past as a refugee, his present as a cog in a stifling bureaucracy. Life and death, humour and insight, survival and obsession, prose and poetry: a classic Serbian epic tale underlies this deceptively modem novel based on a true experience.

Quality paperback, 5½ x 8½, 179 pp, 2004
ISBN: 9780889700802  $14.95

The White Spectre and Other Poems

This volume presents a selection of previously published shorter poems by D. Mrkich.
The title poem, “The White Spectre” – a story about love, the city and an artist’s dedication to his craft – is in many ways the heart of the book.
“A Memory Come Alive” features a series of poems about chance meetings and partings, remembrance of things lost, senses of values. The poem “Beneath the Wall of China” is about war.

“You have a deep sense of mystery and love in almost everything you write…” –Hugh MacLennan (from a private letter to the author)

The front cover drawing is by Lynn Owen.

Quality paperback, 5½ x 8½, 64 pp, 2004
ISBN: 9780889700840  $14.95

The Manuscript and other Plays

In The Manuscript, a prisoner to be executed is tricked into revealing the hiding place of his writings, and the interrogator subsequently claims authorship. The story is based on the contested authorship of “And Quiet Flows the Don” and the Nobel prize which resulted.

In An Unclaimed Gift, a bureaucrat tries to smuggle in a treasure, but dares not claim it.

Tessa is a drama of two lovers: a footloose seaman from the north country, and a Maritime girl, a survivor of the troubled sixties. Their passionate six-week affair leads only to disaster – or does it?

Quality paperback, 5½ x 8½, 108 pp, 2004
ISBN: 9780889701168  $16.95

D. Mrkich works in Serbian:

Tesla: From Lika To Niagara (paperback available by phone or email order from Commoners)

Heritage (paperback available by phone or email order from Commoners)

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