My Heart by Semezdin Mehmedinović
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Heart is a work of autobiographical fiction told in three sections -
one about his heart attack, one in the form of an illustrated travel
diary to his son, and one to his wife as she battles an illness. Themes
include aging, PTSD from living through the siege in Sarajevo,
displacement, memory, etc. It reminds me most of To Be a Man by Nicole
Kraus and the Deborah Levy/ Rachel Cusk style of writing, and yes it's
interesting to me that the authors he reminds me of are all female.
is my first experience with this author but I understand him to be well
loved across the former Yugoslavia. I will count the book for Bosnia in
my Europe2021 project although all of it takes place after and away
from there. It has clearly had an impact on all of them, especially in
his son, who seems to have blocked memories of the war - "When I remind
you of an event from the war, your memory becomes unreliable and vague.
You suppress the war into oblivion."
"Books are lonelier than people."
There is a random section about the makadam
(in his language), then he riffs on John Loudon McAdam, who just
happens to be one of my ancestors, somewhat bizarre to encounter him
"Over the course of the last twenty years that I've lived
here [in the USA], I've been able to monitor the way America has been
closing up, screening itself from the outside world. It used not to be
like this. When people heard a foreign language on the subway, at the
airport, or like this, in a restaurant, it would arouse their curiosity,
not aversion, certainly not fear. Twenty years is a long time, people
pass on and worlds change. Foreigners are no longer welcome here."
has recently been translated into English by Celia Hawkesworth and came
out from Catapult on Tuesday, March 9th; the publisher was lovely to
send me the book for my perusal.
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