My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I find myself wanting to write an amazing review to really do justice to this book – one of the best I’ve read in a long time – but there’s no real way to do it justice.
I loved it. I’m not just saying that because I know the author. (If I hated it, I’d just *forget* to review it.)
This book was such a great story – the protagonist, who confusingly has the same name as the author – is putting together the pieces of his life. He grew up in Yugoslavia & lived through the beginnings of the Bosnian War before emigrating to the US (Los Angeles, specifically) at the age of 18 instead of joining the army. The secondary protagonist, Mustafa, did not leave Bosnia, but instead DID join the army, which didn’t necessary go well for him (and why would it?).
It was thought-provoking and honest – for all that it’s a work of fiction masquerading as a memoir. (That was the hardest part for me, really…I found myself being VERY concerned with the pieces that talk about Melissa – character Ismet’s California girlfriend. I had to remind myself a LOT that this was fiction.)
The language and imagery is fantastic. I could see and feel more than I wanted to; it wasn’t easy to escape the stark glimpses of a post-Soviet, war-torn country. I found myself being impressed that the language was so fantastic, especially since the author did not, I presume, grow up reading/writing/speaking English. (And for all that I know the author and know that he speaks English fluently.)
So – read it. You won’t be sorry, I promise.