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is Vesna’s funny, vivid and immensely readable memoir of the experience, from the beginning of the war through to her eventual return to Bosnia years later. Unlike many books on Bosnia, and refugees in general, Bluebird is never self-pitying, never grave. It’s refreshing to read an account of these experiences filtered through the eyes of a teenager with attitude – written with brilliant comic timing and a great storytelling gift.
Bluebird was adapted for the radio programme Book of the Week by BBC Radio4.
224 pages – Rights sold: Dutch (Arena), USA (Soft Skull), French (Intervalles), Spanish (Ikusager), Marathi (Mehta Publishing House) – Original language: English (Granta, 2010)
A Drop of Joy (Kap veselja, 2017)
Miran returns to his post-war town following an earthquake and a great flood. He attempts to lead a quiet life in the shabby block of flats, alongside his vivid memories and colourful neighbours. He starts a love affair with Verena, ex-wife to the Banana King who, alongside Honda, an angel in a leather jacket, makes for a mere fragment of the powerful mosaic of idiosyncratic characters that make Avdić’s A Drop of Joy.
Miran’s first-person narrative develops alongside the omniscient voice of Hotel Metalurg’s maître d’, in a town which is the ‘cradle of the proletariat’. The two men tell countless stories – stories about darkness, about the open gates of the hellish underworld which has found its way into people’s heads, about the evil which grows and threatens, about the fall of civilisation, anxiety and paranoia, about humanity’s fear of uncertainty, masked as an apocalypse or a dark future.
A meeting point between a dazed mind with the refined aesthetics of David Lynch, a mix of personal memories and a pinch of nostalgia for the progress and optimism of the socialist period.
A Drop of Joy is a nest of symbols and signifiers, Selvedin Avdic has once again composed a novel which exceeds expectations and genre definitions, as well as the boundaries of the language in which it was written.
116 Pages – Original language: Bosnian (Vrijeme, Bosnia-Herzegovina) – Foreign Editions: Croatian (Sandorf, 2018); Macedonia (Litera Makedonika, 2019)
Seven Terrors (Sedam strahova, 2009)
After nine months of self-imposed isolation following his wife’s departure, the hero of Seven Terrors finally decides to face his loneliness and join the world once more. However, when the daughter of his old friend Alex appears in his flat one morning with the news that her father has disappeared, he realises that his life is again about to change. As the two search for clues in Alex’s war diary, they come upon tales of unspeakable horror and mystery: meetings with ghosts, a town under siege, demonic brothers who ride on the wings of war, and many more things so dangerous and so precious that they can only be discussed by the dead. As investigation into Alex’s disappearance continues, readers are drawn further and further into a surreal world where rationality has vanished, evil spreads like a virus and not even love can offer an escape. While Charon, Hades mythical ferryman, can be found behind the wheel of a taxi and dead horses are seen flying across the sky, cracks begin to erode reality and people start to go missing. Here, amidst such chaos, our hero endeavours to cling to his sanity, doing his best to solve the riddle of Alex’s disappearance while attempting to save his own soul and bring love back into his life.
152 Pages – Rights Sold: Spanish (Sajalin, 2017); English (Istros Books, 2012); Danish (Jensen & Dalgaard, 2016); Macedonian (Makedonska reč, 2012); Turkish (Dedalus Kitap); Arabic (Al- Arabi Publishing, Cairo, 2012) – Original language: Bosnian. First published 2009 by Algoritam (Croatia) and Algoritam (Serbia). Also published in 2010 by Vrijeme (Bosnia-Herzegovina)