16.04.2016

Guardian review of QUIET FLOWS THE UNA

Kapka Kassabova praises Bosnian author, Faruk Šehić for debut novel

Quiet Flows the Una by Faruk Šehić review – ‘a major contribution to war literature’

A hypnotic meditation on grief, shame and conflict by a veteran of the Bosnian war

“I am one, but there are thousands of us - the unbreakable broken ones,” Faruk Šehić writes. This autobiographical novel by the celebrated Bosnian poet, which has been awarded a European Union prize for literature and is vividly rendered into English by Will Firth, makes a major and complex contribution to war literature. Written 20 years on from the events that shattered “the bell jar” of Yugoslavia and Šehić’s life – he was a veterinary student when the conflict began – the novel opens with a cri de coeur: “My memories are ugly and dirty.” As if testing the reader’s commitment, the narrator tells us early on that he has killed, and more than once. “There are those who did it differently to me: those who prayed to God that they […] might be killed because they were full of life and strength, and that was what oppressed them – the fear they would stay alive with so much terrible energy in them.”

Read the whole review