Read & Download Kao da me nema Þ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook


Free download 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 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 terrible war in the Balkans in 1992 to determine the death of peopleI say immediately the narration and the events that are reported are strong if not ' than most of the books about holocaust's survivors i have read in the past I really feel the bowels tightened since I read it started and finished late at night because I couldn’t uite get away from S’s voiceImprisoned together with women and children in a Concentration camp S recounts her tragedy as a victim of daily rapes by Serbian soldiersRape and pregnancies fit just like ethnic cleansing These women thus become unable to differentiate between the victim and the subjugated; crushed by that power of life and death in the hands of these beasts who until a few months before were their neighbors their bakers electricians ethc a life in the villages that was once based on sharing and respect but now devastated by the laws of warS will perhaps be the only one who will try to see beyond the mechanisms of survival and evil even if torn apart by these physical sufferings and mental stereotypes in defense of what is indescribableS will come to a real introspection of herself once she finds out she is pregnant by those orgies of evil and flesh Not even the luck of being able to be evacuated to Zagreb and then herself only to Stockholm will change that sense of free fall of heart and no hope for a new lifeThe child is never mentioned initially if not as a cancer a disease of war but the deep meditation work on herself and the unscheduled circumstances such as the carelessness of a nurse who will put her baby on her breast once born she wanted to give him in adoption; it will slowly take S to look at that flesh that is pulsating and living on her chest as a human being That childcancer will then be her salvation and new and positive chance of life despite an unstoppable pain these are real facts lived and happened to thousands of women in the Balkans whether Serbs Bosnians or CroatsI voluntarily left aside real facts of sexual violence described against childrenIo non so perchè ho letto uesto libro proprio in uesto periodo a ridosso del Natale è un libro devastante ed è niente in confronto alla realtà vissuta da uesta donna che l'autrice chiamerà semplicemente Suesta donna verrà deportata insieme ad altri abitanti del suo villaggio unicamente per essere bosniaca con padre musulmano bastava uesto durante la tremenda guerra nei balcani del 1992 per determinare la morte delle personeDico subito la narrazione e le vicende ivi riportare sono forti se non piu' rispetto alla maggior parte dei libri dei sopravvissuti all' olocausto Mi sento veramente le viscere strette da uando l' ho letto iniziato e terminato a tarda notte perchè non riuscivo assolutamente a staccarmi dalla voce di SRinchiusa insieme a donne e bambini in un campo di prigionia S racconta la sua tragedia di donna vittima di stupri di gruppo uotidiani da parte dei soldati serbiLo stupro e le relative gravidanze atte proprio come pulizia etnica ueste donne diventano uindi incapaci di differenziare la vittima dal soggiogato Schiacciate da uel potere di vita e morte nelle mani di ueste bestie che sino a pochi mesi prima erano i loro vicini di casa i loro panettieri elettricisti etccuna vita nei villaggi che un tempo era basata sulla condivisione e il rispetto ma ora devastata dalle leggi della guerraS sarà forse l'unica che cercherà di vedere oltre ai meccanismi di sopravvivenza e di male anche se dilaniata da ueste sofferenze fisiche e stereotipie mentali atti a difesa da ciò che è indescrivibileS arriverà ad una vera introspezione di se stessa una volta scoperto di essere incinta da uelle orgie di male e carne Neanche la fortuna di riuscire ad essere tutti evacuati a Zagabria e poi unicamente lei sino a Stoccolma modificherà uel senso di caduta libera del cuore di speranza di una vita nuovaIl bambino non viene mai citato inizialmente se non come un cancro una malattia della guerra ma il lavoro di riflessione su se stessa e le circostanze non programmate come la sbadataggine di una infermiera che le metterà il piccolo sul petto una volta nato; la porteranno pian piano a guardare uella carne pulsante e vivente come un essere umano uel bambinoil cancro sarà poi la sua salvezza e possibilità di vita nonostante un dolore inarrestabile uesti sono fatti veri vissuti e accaduti a migliaia di donne nei balcani che fossero serbe bosniache o croateho volontariamente lasciato da parte fatti veri di violente sessuali descritte nei confronti dei bambini

Free read é PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ô Slavenka Drakulić

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 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 moment others started dividing and labelling her when nobody asked her anything any In the meantime her life has become something different unrecognizable Or perhaps unimaginable Lying in her hospital bed in Stockholm she still does not know what to call it although she knows that the word is war But for her war is merely a general term a collective noun for so many individual stories War is every individual it is what happened to that individual how it happened to that individual how it happened how it changed that person's life For her war is this child she had to give birth to It is their submissiveness that shocks S than anything else their willingness to obey orders without uestion She thinks this is so not only because the men have guns but also because these people are still in a state of disbelief in some temporary state of numbness that they refuse to understand what is happening to them Or perhaps it is a kind of naivety the belief that surely somebody must know what is being done and why that there must be a reason for this action Is it good to remember or is it easier to survive if you forget you ever lived a normal life? Child Support telling her story 777 the Lost Blood timely strangely compelling and ultimately about survival depicts Know My Name the darkest side of human nature during wartime S may very well be one of Abandoned Alice the strongest books about war you will ever read The writing is Map My Heart taut precise and masterfu Perhaps Scandal that happens The Fashion Condition to people in wartime words suddenly become superfluous because Embellish Me they can no longer express reality Reality escapes The Snakehead the words we know and we simply lack new words Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color & Light to encapsulate The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, this new experience Only now does S understand Truly Wilde that a woman's body never really belongs VEGAN ganz anders to Albert Reynolds the woman It belongs An Infamous Army (Alastair, to others—to Score! the man Abela the children A Sisters Secret the family And in wartime Arabella / Bath Tangle / The Nonesuch to soldiers Now however she sees Butchers Crossing that for her war began Unchained Melanie the moment others started dividing and labelling her when nobody asked her anything any In Olivias Luck the meantime her life has become something different unrecognizable Or perhaps unimaginable Lying in her hospital bed in Stockholm she still does not know what Middle Class Problems to call it although she knows The City of London, Volume 2 that Ainsleys Ultimate Barbecue Bible the word is war But for her war is merely a general How We Lived Then term a collective noun for so many individual stories War is every individual it is what happened Top Tips for Fussy Eaters to Winnie Davis that individual how it happened The Snake Mistake Mystery (The Great Mistake Mysteries to The Loch Ness Mystery Reloaded that individual how it happened how it changed The Tower that person's life For her war is The Seeds of Time this child she had The New Black to give birth Third Time Lucky (Oxford Blue, to It is Two Hours their submissiveness Finding Us (Finding, that shocks S The End of the Story than anything else ديوان حافظ their willingness The Christmas Killer to obey orders without uestion She The Fall of the House of Usher/The Pit & the Pendulum/Other Tales of Mystery & Imagination thinks The Lost Revolution this is so not only because Marion Mahony Reconsidered the men have guns but also because The Girl in the Glass Tower these people are still in a state of disbelief in some The Great Divide temporary state of numbness The Lady and the Peacock that Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith they refuse The Real Deal to understand what is happening The Holy Roman Empire 1495-1806 to Complete Enderby them Or perhaps it is a kind of naivety The Invisible Writing the belief The Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories that surely somebody must know what is being done and why The Winter of the Lions that The Malay Archipelago, the land of the orang-utan and the bird of paradise; a narrative of travel, with studies of man and nature - Volume 2 there must be a reason for The Not So Invisible Woman this action Is it good A Short History of Egypt to remember or is it easier The Boss to survive if you forget you ever lived a normal life?

Slavenka Drakulić ô 4 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 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 as part of the war The threat to them seems far away almost unreal So when the occupying forces marched into the Bosnian village where S lived her immediate reaction is not of panic She is mildly annoyed for having been woken up but she still has faith in the human capacity for reason and she believes that if she surrenders her jewellry and valuables without making a fuss then no one will do her any harm In other words she is naiveThe civilians are captured and taken away to work camps one for men and one for women But deep within the female camp is the room that every prisoner dreads the women's room A room where women become objects to be used by the soldiers a room of pain and despair where all hope dies and a person is forced to become empty Being empty in your mind abandoning your body at will this is the only way to survive Drakulic shows the extent of human depravity in one of the most disturbing accounts of captivity during wartime Her use of the first letter in place of the women's names is important in understanding the ability to dehumanize the enemy they become things and not people It is repulsive scary and sad But the author in my opinion never slips over into the gratuitous because her focus is on S's inner turmoil It is not just about the sexual abuse the beatings and cruelty it's about the effect this has on the victims how they retreat inside themselves and the lengths they go to in order to keep their sanity in a world gone mad Not only that but she even looks at what it's like to be a soldier blindly following orders dehumanizing yourself to find the ability to commit atrocities during war It's easy to have enemies and it's easy to hate but what does it take to make you someone who can torture another human being? What must they become in your mind? What must you become?When showing the crimes men commit towards women when showing a group of male soldiers laughing at a woman's pain it becomes so easy to delve into misandry You hate the Serbian soldiers you hate the things they do to the women But this is only partly a gender issue Drakulic wants to tell the many untold stories of women during the Bosnian war there are an estimated 60000 rape victims she wants us to know about the suffering they faced because of their gender But for the author humanity has one common enemy regardless of your race religion or gender and that is war War makes us all something other than human it allows those with the power to become monstrous and it allows those without it to be seen as verminThough the author chose to focus on the Bosnian war and particularly the way women were treated during this war the backbone of this story is universally applicable She expertly tells a story about some of the vilest most horrific things that can happen to a human being she captures humanity at it's best and worst showing exactly what we are capable of both the good and the bad


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 difficult attempts to rebuild their lives after liberation All the characters are simply known by a single initial with the main focal point being a woman called S She has just given birth in a Stockholm hospital to a child she wants nothing to do with after being repeatedly raped whilst being held captive by Serb forces the previous year 1992 S regards the child as a tumour finally removed from her body In flashback we encounter the horrors in which she and other women had to endureDrakulić opens the depraved doors to the killing rooms of the Balkans war and shows us the raped tortured and murdered bodies of civilians The immediacy and powerful punch to the guts of the novel rises not from the unbelievable things it tells us but from the opposite What's unbelievable is that we are witnessing again horribly familiar events Fixated by the overriding example of the Holocaust we don't notice when it happens again and again never uite in the same way of course and not on the 6 million scale we can't stop focusing on That's when the narrative of one ordinary life becomes essential again as a reminder that decency is frail and wars will continually make monsters The middle third of the book was extremely uncomfortable to read it was like being stuck down the dark alley of an ugly nightmare you want nothing than to just wake upMost of the women once settled into the stone warehouse that is now their new home try all so hard to just shut down and dislocate themselves from their own bodies Nobody wants to talk of what goes on elsewhere in the camp things have been heard they would rather forget as Drakulic dissects the terrible resilience of the human mind One can bear anything if one is not uite present and hovers in the shallows of the moment Drakulic writes in the present tense the hospital from S's point of view That approach presents her with the problem of how to combine the story of a woman who can't afford memory or self consciousness with a reflection on the savage experience she undergoes; she solves this by fusing her logical consciousness with S's numbed condition Cleverly using an indirect third person narrative whilst in the camp allows the writer to achieve the psychic distance necessary to meditate on the meanings of incomprehensible brutalityThe novel may come to a close with some sort of hope as S in tears moves her babyboy onto her breast for a feed but it was tremendously sad to see a mother turn away in disgust from her newborn child this living breathing small and fragile neonate who had just entered the world had done nothing wrong and has no say only asking to be loved Will the boy need the truth later in life about his conception? or just a fictional story about the kind of decent regular father so many other war orphans lostI have to admit had I not read many other powerful and haunting books on the horrors of civilians trapped in war I might have struggled to get through the worst bits It chilled my blood in it's portrayal of humanity's darkest side However I will likely remember this novel for the small humane acts of kindness and courage shown They may only have been little things but seemed huge in the context of the story


  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 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


  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 terrible war in the Balkans in 1992 to determine the death of peopleI say immediately the narration and the events that are reported are strong if not ' than most of the books about holocaust's survivors i have read in the past I really feel the bowels tightened since I read it started and finished late at night because I couldn’t uite get away from S’s voiceImprisoned together with women and children in a Concentration camp S recounts her tragedy as a victim of daily rapes by Serbian soldiersRape and pregnancies fit just like ethnic cleansing These women thus become unable to differentiate between the victim and the subjugated; crushed by that power of life and death in the hands of these beasts who until a few months before were their neighbors their bakers electricians ethc a life in the villages that was once based on sharing and respect but now devastated by the laws of warS will perhaps be the only one who will try to see beyond the mechanisms of survival and evil even if torn apart by these physical sufferings and mental stereotypes in defense of what is indescribableS will come to a real introspection of herself once she finds out she is pregnant by those orgies of evil and flesh Not even the luck of being able to be evacuated to Zagreb and then herself only to Stockholm will change that sense of free fall of heart and no hope for a new lifeThe child is never mentioned initially if not as a cancer a disease of war but the deep meditation work on herself and the unscheduled circumstances such as the carelessness of a nurse who will put her baby on her breast once born she wanted to give him in adoption; it will slowly take S to look at that flesh that is pulsating and living on her chest as a human being That childcancer will then be her salvation and new and positive chance of life despite an unstoppable pain these are real facts lived and happened to thousands of women in the Balkans whether Serbs Bosnians or CroatsI voluntarily left aside real facts of sexual violence described against childrenIo non so perchè ho letto uesto libro proprio in uesto periodo a ridosso del Natale è un libro devastante ed è niente in confronto alla realtà vissuta da uesta donna che l'autrice chiamerà semplicemente Suesta donna verrà deportata insieme ad altri abitanti del suo villaggio unicamente per essere bosniaca con padre musulmano bastava uesto durante la tremenda guerra nei balcani del 1992 per determinare la morte delle personeDico subito la narrazione e le vicende ivi riportare sono forti se non piu' rispetto alla maggior parte dei libri dei sopravvissuti all' olocausto Mi sento veramente le viscere strette da uando l' ho letto iniziato e terminato a tarda notte perchè non riuscivo assolutamente a staccarmi dalla voce di SRinchiusa insieme a donne e bambini in un campo di prigionia S racconta la sua tragedia di donna vittima di stupri di gruppo uotidiani da parte dei soldati serbiLo stupro e le relative gravidanze atte proprio come pulizia etnica ueste donne diventano uindi incapaci di differenziare la vittima dal soggiogato Schiacciate da uel potere di vita e morte nelle mani di ueste bestie che sino a pochi mesi prima erano i loro vicini di casa i loro panettieri elettricisti etccuna vita nei villaggi che un tempo era basata sulla condivisione e il rispetto ma ora devastata dalle leggi della guerraS sarà forse l'unica che cercherà di vedere oltre ai meccanismi di sopravvivenza e di male anche se dilaniata da ueste sofferenze fisiche e stereotipie mentali atti a difesa da ciò che è indescrivibileS arriverà ad una vera introspezione di se stessa una volta scoperto di essere incinta da uelle orgie di male e carne Neanche la fortuna di riuscire ad essere tutti evacuati a Zagabria e poi unicamente lei sino a Stoccolma modificherà uel senso di caduta libera del cuore di speranza di una vita nuovaIl bambino non viene mai citato inizialmente se non come un cancro una malattia della guerra ma il lavoro di riflessione su se stessa e le circostanze non programmate come la sbadataggine di una infermiera che le metterà il piccolo sul petto una volta nato; la porteranno pian piano a guardare uella carne pulsante e vivente come un essere umano uel bambinoil cancro sarà poi la sua salvezza e possibilità di vita nonostante un dolore inarrestabile uesti sono fatti veri vissuti e accaduti a migliaia di donne nei balcani che fossero serbe bosniache o croateho volontariamente lasciato da parte fatti veri di violente sessuali descritte nei confronti dei bambini


  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 as part of the war The threat to them seems far away almost unreal So when the occupying forces marched into the Bosnian village where S lived her immediate reaction is not of panic She is mildly annoyed for having been woken up but she still has faith in the human capacity for reason and she believes that if she surrenders her jewellry and valuables without making a fuss then no one will do her any harm In other words she is naiveThe civilians are captured and taken away to work camps one for men and one for women But deep within the female camp is the room that every prisoner dreads the women's room A room where women become objects to be used by the soldiers a room of pain and despair where all hope dies and a person is forced to become empty Being empty in your mind abandoning your body at will this is the only way to survive Drakulic shows the extent of human depravity in one of the most disturbing accounts of captivity during wartime Her use of the first letter in place of the women's names is important in understanding the ability to dehumanize the enemy they become things and not people It is repulsive scary and sad But the author in my opinion never slips over into the gratuitous because her focus is on S's inner turmoil It is not just about the sexual abuse the beatings and cruelty it's about the effect this has on the victims how they retreat inside themselves and the lengths they go to in order to keep their sanity in a world gone mad Not only that but she even looks at what it's like to be a soldier blindly following orders dehumanizing yourself to find the ability to commit atrocities during war It's easy to have enemies and it's easy to hate but what does it take to make you someone who can torture another human being? What must they become in your mind? What must you become?When showing the crimes men commit towards women when showing a group of male soldiers laughing at a woman's pain it becomes so easy to delve into misandry You hate the Serbian soldiers you hate the things they do to the women But this is only partly a gender issue Drakulic wants to tell the many untold stories of women during the Bosnian war there are an estimated 60000 rape victims she wants us to know about the suffering they faced because of their gender But for the author humanity has one common enemy regardless of your race religion or gender and that is war War makes us all something other than human it allows those with the power to become monstrous and it allows those without it to be seen as verminThough the author chose to focus on the Bosnian war and particularly the way women were treated during this war the backbone of this story is universally applicable She expertly tells a story about some of the vilest most horrific things that can happen to a human being she captures humanity at it's best and worst showing exactly what we are capable of both the good and the bad


  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 Am Not There is about rape torture and sexual slavery of Muslim women during the Bosnian War 1992 1995 During that war the Serbian minority laid siege to Saravejo and began rounding up and massacring Bosnia's Muslim population Then the Serbian rebels transported the Muslim people into concentration camps and did the atrocities similar to those committed by Hitler in Europe during the holocaust Taking the scope or extent in terms of number of people aside the only difference between the two was that the Serbian rebels sexually molested the women including young Muslim girls German soldiers unfortunately or fortunately saw all Jews to be of lower class thus not worth sleeping with and not worth to bear their children There is a scene in this novel when the Serbian soldiers yes most rapes here were done by 2 3 men to one woman were raping a Muslim woman one of them said that when the baby comes out heshe is considered a Serbian which is a higher desired race compared to that of Muslim's Since this book is based on personal testimonies of several women who Drakulic interviewed as a journalist for a Croatian newspaper you would feel that the events are exact and sincere Being a journalist however you would not feel that you are reading a transcript of interviews or a history book Her prose has no allegory or philosophical musings but her emotion as a writer of women issues was captured emphatically on the flight of these poor marginalized Muslim womenThe protagonist name is simply S 30 yo single and an English teacher at Saravejo when she was cornered and brought to a Bosnian concentration camp She together with around 20 other women and some girls as young as 13 years old were kept in a woman's room as sex slaves This reminded me of the comfort women that the Japanese kept during WWII not only here in the Philippines but also in other Asian countries Those pigs S and other women got pregnant Since they hated all those who raped them of course they did not feel any love for the children they nurtured in their wombs They did not know what to to with the babies lying on their cribs at Stockholm's they were brought to Sweden when they were saved from Zagreb's concentration camp hospital I will not tell you what happened next as it is too much of a spoiler Suffice it to say that the novel did not just focus on the Serbian atrocities during the war but also in the dilemma of the women who got raped and had to bear the Serbian children This spin made this a different reading experience compared to the Holocaust novels that I've read and liked so far such as those of Anne Frank's Ellie Wiesel's or Imre Kertesz'sThis truly deserves its slot in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list No doubt whatsoever


  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 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


  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 women and their horrific experiences during the Bosnian War in the 1990s Told in 3rd person atrocities to these women such as rape and torture by the soldiers guarding them in order to humiliate and degrade them are graphically depicted The author explains why she chose to refer to the main character and other women by their first initials This story reminded me somewhat of THE DUTCH WIFE by Ellen Keith but the experiences in the women's room aka brothel revealed in this book were much disturbing to me The ending was extremely powerful if he has forgotten her his victim then she must not forget him or her own past Their murderers need to forget but their victims must not let themIt's unfathomable that such horrific events this lack of humanity still occur to this day This book is a MUST READ


  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 moment others started dividing and labelling her when nobody asked her anything any In the meantime her life has become something different unrecognizable Or perhaps unimaginable Lying in her hospital bed in Stockholm she still does not know what to call it although she knows that the word is war But for her war is merely a general term a collective noun for so many individual stories War is every individual it is what happened to that individual how it happened to that individual how it happened how it changed that person's life For her war is this child she had to give birth to It is their submissiveness that shocks S than anything else their willingness to obey orders without uestion She thinks this is so not only because the men have guns but also because these people are still in a state of disbelief in some temporary state of numbness that they refuse to understand what is happening to them Or perhaps it is a kind of naivety the belief that surely somebody must know what is being done and why that there must be a reason for this action Is it good to remember or is it easier to survive if you forget you ever lived a normal life?


  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 emphasizing the necessity that such events be remembered as well as ironically forgotten by their victims to a certain extent as might be expected there's an intense discomfort to the entire reading experience it extends far beyond the most atrocious events documented and the book shows a decent amount of restraint regarding its most atrocious moments unlike say kozinski's the painted bird which i found exploitative in that regard the most remarkable thing about the novel other than its social significance as a document is drakulic's characterization of her protagonist's body the physical markings of power and brutality are conveyed in great complexity through a deceptively straight forward prose style aesthetically the book is rather remarkable though it's easy perhaps even appropriate to disregard aesthetics while reading it s manages to be illuminating in ways that deepen the superficial revulsion i felt following its brief description on the back of my paperback the novel is an illuminating account of bodily terror as well as a warning concerning racism misogyny and mob mentality it takes a strong stomach to get through but i'm glad i put myself through it


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *