From the Publisher
Named one of the 25 Books That Inspired the World (1989–2014) by World Literature Today
Jergović's "fiction is news that stays news.” — World Literature Today
Read this book: at Sarajevo many died and the twenty-first century was born. These spare tales speak of all that may yet befall us if we forget our essential fragility; by showing that while what unites us is undeniable, what we allow to divide us too easily becomes murderous. This classic of anti-war writing is a warning about the immense human cost of following those who would have us hate others. Its US publication could not be more timely. —Richard Flanagan, Gould’s Book of Fish
Like all great war books, Sarajevo Marlboro is not about war—it’s about life. Jergovic is an enormously talented storyteller, so the people under siege come through in all their poignant fullness. And one more thing: this book does not belong to the literature of complaining, much too common these days—Sarajevo Marlboro is a book for the people who appreciate life." —Aleksandar Hemon, Nowhere Man
Reading Miljenko Jergovic’s Sarajevo Marlboro is like wrapping yourself in a quilt of 29 patches, with each patch personalizing the horrors of the Bosnian War in ways that are engaging, humorous, and unendingly sad. If we are ever to learn to avoid carnage it will be through such acts of constant humanizing as are captured in Jergovic’s amazing work. —Richard Wiley, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Soldiers in Hiding
Jergovic’s writing derives great power from what is left unsaid. —Scotland on Sunday
Poetic and moving . . . Of the many books written on Bosnia, this collection of stories is perhaps the best. —Slavenka Drakulic, S.: A Novel about the Balkans
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 my 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. [For an excerpt of "The Library" and an interview with fledgling publisher Archipelago, see p. 165.]-Mirela Roncevic, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Nobody knows who killed Rade and Jela. They just disappeared one day without fuss or explanation. Perhaps it’s wrong to say what I am going to say, but I only remember two things about poor Rade – his apple jam and the remarkable fact that he never once, not even in the dead of night, reached out of his window to steal an apple.