Seven Terrors review

Seven Terrors by Selvedin Avdic reviewed in The Guardian

Seven Terrors by Selvedin Avdić – review
'Longlisted for the Impac award, this remarkable debut illuminating the Bosnian war is like nothing I've ever read before'
        Nicholas Lezard
        The Guardian, Tuesday 4 February 2014 09.00 GMT

Sometimes the only way to write about something horrible is to do it obliquely. In Seven Terrors we see the Bosnian war of the early to mid-90s glimpsed fleetingly, out of the corner of the eye, like a ghost passing between two worlds. I choose that metaphor carefully, because this is a book in which two worlds are often in contrast, if not in conflict: the living and the dead, the time before a woman leaves a man and after, the pre- and postwar world, the spirit and human worlds, madness and sanity, dreaming and reality, Muslim and Christian, Muslim and atheist. A bar owner, about to thump the drunken and abusive narrator, and relishing the moment, "was shining like a comet separating two epochs". There is even, mundanely, the difference between the way a radio station operated before digital technology, and afterwards. This recurring motif of division and separation, though, is not laboured; it's woven into the book's structure, but I'm not even totally sure that it's intentional.

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