Novi Heder 2021 001 1

The Fish Skin Hat

The Fish Skin Hat. A Love Story

Original title: Šešir od riblje kože

Basic book data

Translated into French, Greek, Mongolian, Russian, Chinesse.

First edition: Belgrade, Draganić, 1996, 80 pages.

  1. Le Chapeau en peau de poisson (The Fish Skin Hat)
    Editions du Rocher, Monaco, 1997.

  2. Шляпа из рыбьей чешуи (The Fish Skin Hat)
    Иностранная литература, No 1, 1997.

  3. Καπέλο από δέρμα ψαριού (The Fish Skin Hat)

  4. Загасны хайрсан бүрх (The Fish Skin Hat)
    2010 (Mongolia)

  5. 鱼鳞帽艳史 - (The Fish Skin Hat)

    Shanghai, Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 2023.


Pavic's tale is a tale of secrets, and everything else are unreliable signs on water. Stories are puzzles that offer only hints and twists that will drop us like a shadow into muttered nights of life and their history. Love as the core of the story, between Venus and Christ, the real Mikaena and her reflection, is elusive - like the past and the future, an immense depth before which we must close our eyes. This brief history, full of hints, lucid metaphors, and miraculous connection and keys, dreams and virtual reality, which descends from the future in times past, reveals Pavic as a master of stories and caster of dice, and in its capricious unpredictability will open gardens of life and death, where we may find reflections of our souls and our secrets.

Milorad Pavić

My love story The Fish Skin Hat takes place in the third century after Christ. Christianity is not yet generally accepted. My question in that book is what happens with lovers if one of them can see the future, and the other cannot see what will happen tomorrow. This was the case with many lovers and families in Yugoslavia during that last war.


The past and the future are like passwords to this book, but at the same time that means keys to the gate between two civilizations – the ancient, in this case Roman, at its close and the Christian, being born. The wooden key, a crucifix, leading into the future, into Christianity, is actually a key which my heroine Mikaina has, and her beloved Arkadije has not.

Each era sees love differently. In my story the hero sees love as “eros” - the ancient way, and my heroine as “agape”- the Christian way.


Readers reviews


  • In the story The Fish Skin Hat Pavic returns to his favorite theme, the theme of dreams. It is entwined with lost love. First, the hero receives a symbolic key to her heart, she's with him, she tells him about dreams, teaching him to read them, shows the cell in which they are stored, and then he sells the key and she goes to another, and he can not find her, he fears a fight. The only thing he does, is leave a coin with her profile. At the end of his life, he suddenly looks at his daughter and recognizes in her his mistress. All is repeated. Fate smiles at him, but the smile is more like a joke. You can not lose your happiness, or later will be too late.