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Summary Kao da me nema

Kao da me nema

Set in 1992 during the height of the Bosnian war S reveals one of the most horrifying aspects of any war the rape and torture of civilian women by occupying forces S is the story of a Bosnian woman in exile who has just given birth to an unwanted child one wi. This was the first Drakulic I read and at the time I felt incapable of writing a review although I consider it both very well written as a novel and immensely important as a historical reflection on the routine of rape during wars There was a double reason why I could not put into words what I thought First of all I struggled with the closeness of the atrocious events both in a geographical and historical sense This book took me to a war in Europe during my own lifetime my teenage years and it contained the whole spectrum of innocent civilians suffering that I can hardly bear to witness from a distance when reading about World War Two for example The graphic description of rape and the information that there had been a routine of holding women hostage to use them as sexual slaves not that far away from where I spent my safe adolescence made a strong impact on me stronger than I had expected Now when the book is not haunting me as vividly any I find myself in the position to reflect on it calmly and to appreciate the important message about the incredible vulnerability of women in unstable societiesThe other reason why I had trouble with reviewing was that I felt I could not place the author properly The topic was so extreme the suffering described so harsh I could not imagine what her writing would look like if she chose a different subject Then a while ago I read A Guided Tour Through the Museum of Communism and was completely surprised by the wit and almost silly sense of humour displayed in the excellent short story collection I would never have expected to pick up a book by Drakulic and actually have a good lighthearted laugh not after my first encounter with her In a way that humorous approach to Communist rule made the pain of As if I Am Not There even tangible Both books however are similar in the way they describe how people suffer from an oppressive system that they can t escape either during a war or within a totalitarian political system They also show a variety of different characters reacting to the system using their individual survival skills So I thought that might be the recipe to Drakulic writing But then I started to read Marble Skin and I was again taken by surprise being catapulted into a brilliant opening describing a sculptress creation of a female marble body as an introduction to a dark inner journey to get to terms with her mother and her sexuality It feels like it is again an entirely new author I am trying out What a versatile storytellerI will continue to think about As If I Am Not There for a while but the contrast to the other novels gave it even depth pain and acute relevance than it had when I first stumbled upon itAnd I am curious to try the rest of Slavenka Drakulic oeuvre as well now definitely expecting to be surprised if I may say so well knowing that it is an oxymoron kind of

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Ured and in telling her story timely strangely compelling and ultimately about survival depicts the darkest side of human nature during wartime S may very well be one of the strongest books about war you will ever read The writing is taut precise and masterfu. A must read bookIt reminded me of movies such as Incendies Beanpole and Aurora Borealis Their murderers need to forget but their victims must not let them Edouard Manet ultimately about survival depicts the darkest side of human nature during wartime S may very well be one of the strongest books about war you will ever read The writing is taut precise and masterfu. A must read bookIt reminded me of movies such as Incendies Beanpole and Aurora Borealis Their murderers need to forget but their victims must not let them

Slavenka Drakulić º 6 Free read

Thout a country a name a father or a language Its birth only reminds her of an even grueling experience being repeatedly raped by Serbian soldiers in the women's room of a prison camp Through a series of flashbacks S relives the unspeakable crimes she has end. My original review 2000 in the San Francisco ChronicleS A Novel of the Balkans By Slavenka Drakulic Viking 216 pages 2295Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic has given the world a gift digging into the twisted reality of the war that splintered the former Yugoslavia and emerging with S a searing story about a woman held in a Bosnian concentration camp It is a haunting difficult novel that is also somehow redemptiveIn the past Drakulic has demonstrated in essays such as Cafe Europa Life After Communism an inspired knack for unlikely but telling details She also has a restlessness and a moral imagination that give her work nuance and power and flavor this last uality being one she jokes about in the title of her I loved him so much I ate him novel The Taste of a Man But never has she combined her approach and her subject matter into anything like the cataclysmic power of this new novel which makes her earlier novels look like secondary school warmups Drakulic not only pulls us into the world of this anonymous young woman a teacher taken away by Serb soldiers along with everyone else in the town she works in but she does it without manipulation The smell the smell of dust in the dry air that is what she will remember begins an early chapter The taste of coffee with too much sugar The image of women uietly climbing on to the bus one by one as if going on an excursion And the smell of her own sweat Some might call Drakulic s adroit use of sight and sound and fleeting impression manipulative but when it works as well as this the criticism seems misplacedDrakulic takes us through the succession of horrors endured by S in such a relaxed manner it almost seems like travel writing There is the uncertain young man who comes to take S away The black nail of his big toe is poking out of his torn cloth sneakers she writes There is the subdued horror of packing just a few belongings when S has no idea how long she will be gone or where she s being taken And there is the power of a good list such as this one describing the villagers These people are leaving behind uneaten food on the table unwashed dishes unfinished work animals in the barn radios playing laundry for ironing arguments Drakulic keeps her prose orderly and controlled Simple impression follows simple impression The cumulative effect makes the reader go from understanding the fracture of Yugoslavia by what was shown on TV to knowing it through benumbing verisimilitudeBecause Drakulic always looks for the small human moment that can offer respite from horror the atrocities portrayed never seem gratuitous or polemical That s saying a lot given such passages as S overhearing a young voice saying I saw three dead girls in a ditch I knew them from school They were naked Their breasts had been cut off I covered them with leaves The book never drags and no page stands out as less gripping than the next But the story rises to another level of horror when S moves into the women s room in the concentration camp Drakulic juxtaposes the ordinary with the extraordinary to make these scenes so powerful S tries to unbutton her blouse Three pairs of men s eyes watch her movements as her trembling fingers fail to find the buttons It is not that she does not want to obey their order On the contrary she is in a hurry to do so At that moment she cannot even think about doing anything else but S no longer controls her fingers What the soldiers do to S the hows and whys of it cannot fail to shake loose troubling perspectives on war and what it means Drakulic could not have written a book this good this free of cheap effect if she had rushed herself She had to spend time mulling over the war gaining something to serve as ballast something enabling her to see the truth in a line such as But the soldiers are no longer people either except that they are less aware of it Despite the dehumanization suffered Drakulic s main character remains alive on the page even if she doesn t have an actual name just a letter like all the women in the story I m alive she thinks as if this were a secret to be kept for herself Later she jumps suddenly as if startled out of a dream And still later during the unnerving section devoted to S s odd liaison with the camp s sad proper and yet ultimately debauched commander Smells are a dangerous thing they catapult you back into the past and she is afraid of forgetting where she is She must focus on the captain Eventually S and the others are released from the camp The psychology of what they face afterward has been explored elsewhere but even so Drakulic s take on psychological dislocation comes across as fresh S can t look back She can t look forward She can t even claim the present But nothing is close enough to her yet not the wet asphalt she is treading not the cup of coffee she is holding not the snowflakes falling on her face Only when S resettles in Stockholm that gleaming Swedish bastion of prosperity and social services can she try to come to terms with living Just what that entails can t be reduced to a few words but her agonizing reflections and where they lead never feel less than honestSteve Kettmann is an American writer living in Berlinhttpsfgatecomcgi binarticlecgiThis article appeared on page RV 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle


10 thoughts on “Kao da me nema

  1. says:

    Croatian journalist novelist and essayist Slavenka Drakulić has written a terrifyingly fierce and painful novel of a country's lost identity told through the suffering of a nameless group of female inmates in a camp and their diffic

  2. says:

    This was the first Drakulic I read and at the time I felt incapable of writing a review although I consider it both very well written as a novel and immensely important as a historical reflection on the routine of rape during wars There was a double reason why I could not put into words what I thought First of all I struggled with the clos

  3. says:

    I don’t know why I have read this book at this very time close to Christmas it is a devastating book and it is nothing compared to the reality experienced by this woman which the author will simply call SThis woman will be deported along with other residents of her village only to be Bosnian This was enough during the

  4. says:

    When your country is at war with another or perhaps many others you are aware of the risk to human life You know soldiers will die you know that some of these may be people you know or even your loved ones But though the civilians at home worry about those who are away fighting for their country they rarely see themselves

  5. says:

    Slavenka Drakulic born 1949 is a Croatian novelist sociologist and a journalist who writes mainly on women issues This is my opening sentence because when I picked up this book I asked myself Drakulic who? and thought that this was a horror book Hmmm DrakulicDracula BosniaYugoslaviaTransylvania Enough KD Stop Must be the Halloween spirit This is a serious bookVery much indeed S A Novel About Balkans aka As If I

  6. says:

    My original review 2000 in the San Francisco ChronicleS A Novel of the Balkans By Slavenka Drakulic Viking; 216 pages; 2295Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic has given the world a gift digging into the twisted reality of the war that splintered the former Yugoslavia and emerging with ``S'' a searing story about a woman held in a B

  7. says:

    Is it good to remember or is it easier to survive if you forget you ever lived a normal life?Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulic wrote this simplistic but powerful story inspired by the personal accounts of various Bosnian Muslim civilian w

  8. says:

    A must read bookIt reminded me of movies such as Incendies Beanpole and Aurora Borealis Their murderers need to forget but their victims must not let them

  9. says:

    Perhaps that happens to people in wartime words suddenly become superfluous because they can no longer express reality Reality escapes the words we know and we simply lack new words to encapsulate this new experience Only now does S understand that a woman's body never really belongs to the woman It belongs to others—to the man the children the family And in wartime to soldiers Now however she sees that for her war began the m

  10. says:

    this novel concerns the systematized rape and torture of civilian bosnian women during the conflicts in the balkans during the early nineties it's deeply troubling stuff almost a psychosexual counterpart to a day in the life of ivan denisovich which begs the inevitable uestion why am i reading this? certainly there's an impulse to somehow bear witness however wishy washy and drakulic does a great job of emphas

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