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Review from Library Journal for Sarajevo Marlboro

Almost every part of the globe that has seen war has also seen an emergence of books probing the experience, whether as straightforward storytelling, romanticism, or magical realism. Bosnia is no exception, but this collection of stories is in no way “yet another book” on the subject—it is probably the most effective of the lot in its portrayal of the mundane human experience. Jergovic, a native Sarajevan who has in recent years become a literary celebrity in the region, truly tells it like it is by zooming in on the ways in which war creeps into the lives of ordinary citizens, not only when it is already raging but also before it begins. “If the war spreads, heaven forbid, I’m well prepared,” proclaims Mr. Ivo in one story. “If it doesn’t, so what? I had a lot of fun digging up by garden.” What better way than this to convey the nature of a mentality so deeply rooted in dark humor and paradox? The concluding story, “The Library,” offers a powerful interpretation of the roles that books played during the worst of times and the horrible ways in which they perished alongside those who value them. An indispensable purchase.

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