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Homecoming
Natasha Radojcic
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2002



–› Excerpt

refered to by:
Snow
Orhan Pamuk


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Homecoming is not a novel of the Bosnian War, but of its aftermath. It is told in a voice we have rarely heard: that of a Muslim soldier returning home to his village. Having been injured on the front, Halid is granted a leave from the army. But his homecoming is hardly joyous, and he soon discovers just how much has changed since the fighting began. Through Halid's difficult journey, Radojcic-Kane creates a complex allegory for the bitter ethnic struggle in the Balkans-and for all wars.
In the manner of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, the war is absent, and yet its memory permeates every page. Radojcic-Kane chronicles Halid's first days in the village as he attempts to reclaim the fragments of his past life. He quickly encounters the upheaval that has occurred during the war and discovers relations between Christians and Muslims have deteriorated into hatred, and the peaceful village he once knew is nothing but a memory. Wracked by indecision about his future and nagging pain from his injury, Halid can't
escape the memories of one episode from the war. Unable to face himself-or his mother-he sleeps in a field instead of his mother's house and he turns to drinking rakija, a strong local brandy.
Before even visiting his mother, Halid goes to the home of Mira, the woman he loved before the war and who married his closest friend, a Serbian Christian killed by a Bosnian land mine. Widowed and destitute, Mira now lives with her son at the home of her embittered mother-in-law. At the center of the story-and, in part, the cause of Halid's demise-is Halid's attempt to buy Mira from her mother-in-law for the price of a new tractor. Halid's war booty will nearly cover the cost of the tractor, but not quite. In an ill-advised attempt to win the balance needed in a poker game, Halid's plans for a tractor and his dreams for a life with Mira are quickly lost. His missteps at the poker table and his interactions with former friends and neighbors pull him into a downward spiral of tragedy that seems preordained.

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NATASHA RADOJčIć'S BOOKSHELF

Ulysses
James Joyce, 1922
'I love this book. The language! I listen to it every day when I'm running, chapter by chapter, over and over...' - NR

BOOKS BY NATASHA RADOJCIC:

Homecoming
2002
–› Excerpt

When a Muslim soldier returns to his village after the Yugoslavian civil war, he realizes that much has changed.
WHAT TO READ AFTER HOMECOMING

WHY CANNERY ROW?
Cannery Row
John Steinbeck, 1939
'I think this is Steinbeck's best novel. It has such a special atmosphere. And the people he describes - what a collection of characters! My third book is based on Cannery Row.'

You Don't Have to Live Here
2005
Rags to riches, Slavic style.
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