Friday, 28 May 2021

'Letters from Diaspora' by Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura | Book Review

Letters from Diaspora by Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura | Book Review

If you've ever contemplated how people 'get over' war and genocide, Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura has the answer in her debut novel Letters from Diaspora: Stories of War and its Aftermath: they don't. The war follows them everywhere, their trauma never leaves them and it simply gets quieter.

Letters from Diaspora: Stories of War and its Aftermath reads like an oral history and it's written in a very similar voice to that used by Svetlana Alexievitch. Alexievitch's Voices From Chernobyl was one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read and I very much enjoyed both the style and content of the book, however grim.

Letters from Diaspora is not a book that is enjoyed. It's fiction, short at 98 pages and is twelve stories about twelve survivors of war and genocide in Bosnia. All of the subjects are living in the diaspora and speak about rage, loss, grief and being told to move on.

There is no moving on.

I finished Letters from Diaspora in one sitting; not surprising perhaps, given the length. It's an incredibly difficult subject matter to read but is a necessary and beautifully written book. I'd highly recommend this book, especially to teens. The short, accessible stories would be an ideal starting point for exploration and discussion.

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© A Passion to Understand

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