One of the techniques Jergović uses happens at the level of the paragraph and amounts to a kind of clever closure, often of a longish sentence, sometimes more than one, that serves to slow down the pace but also gather up energy as the narrative moves on. It works, I think, a little like a Bach chorale after a patch of recitative in a mass, or, the Shakespearean couplet at the end of a soliloquy idea I mentioned earlier.
Two examples from the chapter I’m currently translating (Germans in Sarajevo) should help to make the technique clear.
The identities of these individuals were, for the most part, never uncovered and the Party’s railroad network was never broken, not even during the several terrifying weeks of Vjekoslav Luburić’s reign of terror, and so Engineer Püframent’s work was, among other things, to teach the technicians how, in the name of public good, to repair the machinery that, during the war, also in the name of public good, they had ruined.
Or this, shorter one:
Nona would recall times from before the war, while Mrs. Piframent did not wish to recall anything as a rule, or did not wish to speak about the times she recalled.
The shift from Püframent to Piframent is deliberate and subtle. The family has come from Germany and is being integrated into the life of the town, as well as that of the narrator’s family. The spelling of their name suddenly and without fanfare becomes localized, inevitably in the proximity of food.
I imagine this parallelism technique has a name. It is probably a rhetorical figure. If anyone has a suggestion, I’d like to hear it.