I started reading Stillness by Courtney Angel Brkic this morning on the train. It’s a collection of stories about the war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia and I think it’s really outstanding.Brkic worked as a forensic archaeologist in Bosnia after the war, and in the prologue she speaks of photos she found, rendered a foggy white by water damage. The book seems to be trying to restore the detail to these ‘photos of the dead’ – the people killed, displaced or scarred by the war, even the animals left starving in the zoo. If you’re interested in literature about the Balkan conflict, I can highly recommend Sarajevo Marlboro by Miljenko Jergovic, Sarajevo Blues by Semezdin Mehmedinovic and for a completely different take, Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazade and The Fixer. I’d be grateful for any other recommendations of books by Croatian, Bosnian or Serbian authors – it’s not something I seem to stumble upon often.
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