Stanisic's debut novel is the moving story of a young Bosnian refugee named Aleksandar Krsmanovic. Aleksandar is the apple of his family's eye, but his sheltered childhood ends when ethnic wars brewing in the surrounding republics make their way to his hometown in the spring of 1992. As Serbian troops storm the village, Aleksandar's family hides, but nowhere is safe. The violence forces the family to Germany, where they struggle to adjust to their new lives as refugees. In the depths of their despair, Aleksandar's grandmother makes him promise to "remember when everything was all right and the time when nothing's all right." Aleksandar keeps his word, and the memories pour out of him like a river. The author organizes Aleksandar's recollections as a stream of consciousness, operating on no distinct linear time line and often stopping one story and starting another in the same breath. It is difficult to keep up with this frantic pace, but it pays to be patient because a remarkable life's journey unfolds. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophoneby Sasa Stanisic
The hardcover publication of How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone launched Stanisic as an exciting and important new voice in literary fiction and earned exuberant praise from readers and critics alike. Now in paperback, Stanisic’s debut about a boy who experiences the Bosnian War and finds the secret to survival in language and stories is bound to/i>… See more details below
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The hardcover publication of How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone launched Stanisic as an exciting and important new voice in literary fiction and earned exuberant praise from readers and critics alike. Now in paperback, Stanisic’s debut about a boy who experiences the Bosnian War and finds the secret to survival in language and stories is bound to dazzle a whole new readership.
For Aleksandar Krsmanovic, Grandpa Slavko’s stories endow life in Višegrad with a kaleidoscopic brilliance. Neighbors, friends, and family past and present take on a mythic quality; the River Drina courses through town like the pulse of life itself. So when his grandfather dies suddenly, Aleksandar promises to carry on the tradition. But then soldiers invade Višegrad—a town previously unconscious of racial and religious divides—and it’s no longer important that Aleksandar is the best magician in the nonaligned states; suddenly it is important to have the right last name and to convince the soldiers that Asija, the Muslim girl who turns up in his apartment building, is his sister.
Alive with the magic of childhood, the surreality of war and exile, and the power of language, every page of this glittering novel thrums with the joy of storytelling.
It's the early 1990s in ViAegrad, and young Aleksandar Krsmanovic´ is devastated by the death of his grandfather, who taught him that with his imagination he can do anything. And so he devises a kaleidoscopically cracked and beautiful view of the world that carries him through any boy's normal growing pains to the ominous moment when a classmate announces that he doesn't have the right name; soon, his city is conquered by former countrymen, and his family escapes to Germany. There, Aleksandar struggles to contact the girl he left behind and makes wildly fractured lists, trying to anchor his life in memories of a homeland that's changed forever. Having fled ViAegrad, first novelist StaniAic´ now listens to his protagonist's grandfather and writes brilliantly cockeyed prose that borders on the surreal-or maybe the psychedelic. (One chapter is titled "How the soldier repairs the gramophone, what connoisseurs drink, how we're doing in written Russian, why chub eat spit, and how a town can break into splinters.") This book won Germany's Readers' Prize and was nominated for the Deutscher Buchpreis, and rightly so; it's voice of a bold young Europe and a child's-eye view of war all the more poignant because it's not gritty realism. Highly recommended for anyone not expecting standard plot. [See Prepub Alert, LJ2/15/08.]
“A bold, questing work of art.”Los Angeles Times
“Funny, heartbreaking, beautifully written.”The Seattle Times
“Wildly inventive . . . It rages rough and broad and joyful.”San Francisco Chronicle
“The magic of storytelling lies at the heart of Saša Stanišic’s sensational debut. . . . A book that will dominate the discourse on how children experience war for a long time to come.”Foreign Policy
“Poignant and hauntingly beautiful.”The Village Voice
“Will convert skeptics with the sheer force of its emotional power.”The Oregonian
“An astonishing accomplishment . . . Enthralling, something you can’t put down.”Deseret News (Salt Lake City)
“Dazzling . . . A novel rich with experience and imagination.”Kirkus Reviews
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