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Published: 6/15/2021



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Book Description

Kin is a family epic from one of Croatia’s most prized writers. In this sprawling narrative which spans the entire twentieth century, Miljenko Jergović peers into the dusty corners of his family’s past, illuminating them with a tender, poetic precision. Ordinary, forgotten objects – a grandfather’s beekeeping journals, a rusty benzene lighter, an army issued raincoat – become the lenses through which Jergović investigates the joys and sorrows of a family living through a century of war. The work is ultimately an ode to Yugoslavia – Jergović sees his country through the devastation of the First World War, the Second, the Cold, then the Bosnian war of the 90s; through its changing street names and borders, shifting seasons, through its social rituals at graveyards, operas, weddings, markets – rendering it all in loving, vivid detail.

Vast, generous-spirited story of family across the face of the 20th century in the turbulent Balkans . . . There is beauty aplenty, and ample monstrosity, in Jergović’s account, as well as many moments of mystery: a beekeeper’s coded journal, the alpenglow that surrounds Sarajevo as surely as a besieging army, the “living torment” that is existence, all come under Jergović’s empathetic eye. A masterwork of modern European letters that should earn the author a wide readership outside his homeland.
Kirkus, Starred Review

Miljenko Jergović has lived as a “foreigner” in Zagreb since 1993, where, as narrator, he channels stories of Sarajevo and the ways in which the city has embodied the 20th century’s major flash points—religious intolerance, virulent nationalism, and world wars . . . Jergović devotes the first section to quotidian ancestral history, but even here the scope widens with soaring chapters on the geopolitical changes after WWII . . . dozens of shimmering vignettes build to the hallucinatory novella-length capstone “Sarajevo Dogs” . . . [Jergović’s] astonishing project offers endless rewards.
Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

A superb English translation . . . Kin is deeply interested in moments that trickle down through the years, and how, even when languages and the names of countries have changed, when wars have completely reshaped the region, these fleeting seconds have stayed rooted in a family’s mind.
Sarah McEachern, The Los Angeles Review of Books

[Jergovic is] a poet, novelist, and journalist of the highest caliber . . . His concern is for the living and in this collection of stories about Sarajevo and its inhabitants he writes about them with the seriousness, sensitivity, quirky intelligence, and gentle humor of a master of the short story.
The New Republic

A well-known Bosnian writer looks at ordinary objects in his family to uncover its history living through a century of war.
The New York Times

Jergović is neither naïve nor sentimental about the uses of storytelling . . . In a land marked by death and disappearances, storytelling saves the murdered from oblivion . . . In a region scarred by ethnic conflict, of missing persons and forgotten graves, the simple domestic act of remembrance can transform into a more powerful statement against the politics of hatred and annihilation. It is in the everyday that Jergović hopes to find salvation enough for the entire world.
Duncan Stuart, Exit Only

Kin, Miljenko Jergović’s time-travelling, place-hopping epic, is at once a history of family and an ode to Yugoslavia. Spanning the entire 20th century, Kin traces the palimpsestic layers of the region’s past from the two World Wars through to the turmoil of the 90s. Taking the dusty objects of his family’s past and his own pockmarked memories as the subjects of his enquiry, the book is as much a comment on memory’s elusive surface as it is a social history of the region.
Matt Janney, Calvert Journal

From baking to beekeeping, from Satan to citizenship, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to war, famine, and poverty, Jergović covers the gamut of a hundred year period, a variety of languages, nationalities, religions, historical events and famous and ordinary people . . . Fact or invented, this is a superb family novel.
The Modern Novel

Jergovic has the mien of the rare author whose gift is so innate he need only conquer a few demons and steady his hands enough to write it all down.
San Diego Union

This is a giant doorstop of a book about a Croatian family's history and the narrator's place in it, but no one should be intimidated by its bulk: Jergović is like a friend whose stories are always good, a guest you hope stays up late with you getting to the really good stuff. Part novel, part memoir, part philosophical discourse and part historical account, I couldn't wait to start reading this one every morning: Its peaks are some of the most bracing reading I've done in a decade. Highest recommendation.
John Darnielle

Kin is an intimate and painstakingly detailed attempt to comprehend one’s own identity . . . Jergovic delivers a nostalgic, irate, touching, and, above everything, beautiful homage to Sarajevo and its geography.
Damjana Mraovic-O’Hare, Transitions


[A] multilayered and complex text, which demonstrates why Jergović is one of the most prominent Croatian authors and one of the most translated European writers.
World Literature Today

Visit the author’s website here.

Read Miljenko Jergović’s essay, “The Ideal Yugoslavian: Miljenko Jergović on Balkan identity, as told through the story of his family.”

Watch Andrea Maria Dusl discuss how she learned that Miljenko Jergović was her cousin by reading the Austrian edition of Kin at this link: “This is the story of a family that lived in Bosnia and the former Carniola and of which I only knew through the stories of my grandparents. And Miljenko Jergović did not know that I existed and told me the story of my lost relatives from Bosnia. It’s very rare to have a book . . . and actually read in it, where your own father is in it like in a novel and your own grandmother and uncles and aunts and everyone. So everyone I knew from stories appears in other stories. That touched me deeply.”

The author’s interview “You cannot delete the past” is available through Hungarian Literature Online.

Miljenko Jergović’s story, “The Death of the President’s Dog”, was published by Archipelago in Mama Leone and was featured on Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading Tumblr.

Miljenko Jergović and Bosnian writer Semezdin Mehmedinović co-wrote a book of personal letters, Transatlantic Mail. Asymptote published an excerpt, in which the two authors discuss Susan Sontag’s visit to Sarajevo.

Archipelago Books has proudly published other works by Miljenko Jergović; to see a list and read what people have said, please click here.