A Fly in the Soup is a book of memoirs. Charles Simic was born in 1938 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and spent his childhood in a city bombed by the Nazis in 1941 and then by the Allies in 1944. He was jailed with his mother after the war for trying to flee what was by then a communist country. He managed to emigrate in 1953, first to Paris and then a year later to the United States. He lived in New York, completed his high school education in Chicago and began writing in English and publishing his first poems in 1959 when he was twenty-one years old.
The book collects pieces written on such diverse subjects as memory, history, the bombing of cities, cuisine, philosophy, life in the army, movies, and growing up in wartime. Arranged chronologically, they make an unusual memoir of exile and refugee life, a collage of stories, anecdotes, meditations and poetic fragments from one of the most barbaric periods of the last century. This is a story of a young man whose travel agents were Hitler and Stalin--the autobiography of the early years of one of the most respected contemporary American poets.
Charles Simic has published more than sixty books in the United States and abroad for which he has received a number of prestigious literary awards including the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the MacArthur Fellowship.