Skip to content
Paperback Sarajevo Blues Book

ISBN: 087286345X

ISBN13: 9780872863453

Sarajevo Blues

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good*

*Best Available: (ex-library)

Save $8.16!
List Price $14.95

1 Available

Book Overview

From one of Bosnia's most prominent poets and writers: spare and haunting stories and poems that were written under the horrific circumstances of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Semezdin Mehmedinovic remained a citizen of Sarajevo throughout the Serbian nationalists' siege and was active throughout the war in the city's resistance movement, as one of the editor's of the magazine Phantom of Liberty. Sarajevo Blues was originally published at the end...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings


Deserves the highest praise. Well done. What's it about? Trying to hold onto your sanity while your world/life/existance is being ripped apart. Want to know what it's like to be stuck in a city under seige? Want to know what it's like to be surrouned by enemy forces with nowhere to run or hide while they shell your town to rubble? Read this (fairly slim) volume then. Man's inhumanity to man? It's here, baby--and the irony is just this: This sort of thing will keep on happening. We never learn. The sort of savagery depicted in this book is happening even as I write this in various other parts of the world. Never underestimate the cruelty of the human animal.

Elegant, passionate, and inspired prose!

Another awesome book that will help those of us in the West understand the horrific tragedy that was the Bosnia/Serb/Croation war of 1992-1995. The author grabs your heart from the first line...profoundly moving, even disturbing at times.

You don't want to read this book - so do

Sarajevo Blues is poetry and prose of the war in Sarajevo. It is written with the realism that one associates with Ernaux or Duras. As the author says in an interview at the end of the book: "We were completely attuned to the exterior world ... We had a real need for precision, with some belief that if we could put on paper precisely what was in the outside owrld that, in itself, would convey the emotional potential indispensable to poetry."Thus this book makes its points simply - the cigarette wrapped in a death certificate, the recognition of the enemy in the same sweater that you wear, the pear eaten with the iman of the mosque ... the result is a book that will not permit you to view war in the abstract but rather forces you to look at war in the eyes of individual people who matter.

One of the most important books on the recent Balkan wars

A pearl of insight that should be read and reread by anybody interested in the recent Balkan wars appears on page 115 of "Sarajevo Blues." There we find, in an interview between translator Ammiel Alcalay and author Semezdin Mehmedinovic, the latter's comment that "Bosnian culture is inclusive, it includes the Bosnian Franciscan tradition (of Catholic mysticism), the Muslim Sufi tradition, and the Sephardic Jewish tradition; this is all part of my culture." This sheaf of poetry and prose sketches offers a modern transformation of such transcendental currents. "Sarajevo Blues," as it was called even in the Bosnian version, is legendary in the stricken city of Sarajevo, serving as a local souvenir for those who survived the brutal siege that struck the city beginning in 1992. One of several disparate and more or less hurried editions, printed on the roughest newsprint and selling in the bookstores of Marshal Tito Street, retails for only three marks, or $1.80 -- a major investment for Sarajevans, who have few jobs and less money. Mehmedinovic is a Muslim Bosnian living in the United States. Born in 1960, he was no longer young when the Bosnian conflict commenced, but his writing still bears the marks of the youthful American style -- brief but eloquent notes and comments -- that swept the world with the Beat revolution. With considerable effectiveness, Mehmedinovic has synthesized the sentimental traditions and idealistic illusions of the Sarajevans, the horrors of the war and the disillusionment of its victims with an indifferent world. He writes of the prayerful burial of a Muslim martyred in the fighting: "Sorrow gathers in circles under the eyes; the men pass their open palms across their faces. As the rites continue, I feel the presence of God in everything; when this is over, I will take a pen and make a list of my sins." The one-paragraph text ends, "A cat jumps across the shadow of a minaret." Elsewhere he describes how Serb terrorists expelled the mental patients from a suburban asylum, driving them into the city: "One of them -- holding the body of a dead sparrow by its claws -- came up to someone walking along King Tomislav Street and said, `You'll be dead too, when my army gets here.' " The combination of poignant and surreal details is characteristic not only of Bosnian war narratives but also of contemporary Bosnian writing in general, a field of literature unknown in the outside world until the war, but featuring great achievements of perception and lyricism. If the war has had a positive aspect -- aside from the shutdown of old, polluting indus tries, which has allowed fish to reappear in the country's rivers for the first time in decades -- it is the introduction of Bosnian authors to foreign readers. (Recent volumes issued in English include an outstanding work, "Death and the Dervish" by Mesa Selimovic, a Muslim who wrote with great delicacy in the
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured