The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic

The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return

byKenan Trebincevic, Susan Shapiro

Kobo ebook | February 25, 2014

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A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family

At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47 - screaming: "You have one hour to leave or be killed!" Kenan’s only crime: he was Muslim. This poignant, searing memoir chronicles Kenan’s miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia. After two decades in the United States, Kenan honors his father’s wish to visit their homeland, making a list of what he wants to do there. Kenan decides to confront the former next door neighbor who stole from his mother, see the concentration camp where his Dad and brother were imprisoned and stand on the grave of his first betrayer to make sure he’s really dead. Back in the land of his birth, Kenan finds something more powerful—and shocking—than revenge.

Title:The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and ReturnFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:February 25, 2014Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1101631805

ISBN - 13:9781101631805


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A gripping, emotional and informative book I picked up this book hoping for some clarity in my understanding of the Balkans: who's who, who did what to whom, who are the good guys and who are the war criminals. When I put it down I was more confused then when I started. Paradoxically, such confusion is clarity. The people of the Balkans are entangled by language, family, history and geography, while at the same time divided by ethnicity, distrust and religion. A simplified presentation of the "facts" would be a distortion. At best you can hope for perspective, which The Bosnia List provides. The depredations of war, the festering anger of betrayal are presented through the mind of an eleven year old. Twenty years later, as an American citizen he re-visits his homeland, wanting to confront the villains from his childhood. To his astonishment he discovers that the lines between the good and bad guys are as convoluted as the relations between the ethnicities of the Balkans. The Bosnia List is an astonishing book, showing the complexity of human motives and the vagaries of morality. It's engaging, able to convey powerful emotions without resorting to sentimentality. As an afterthought, it's interesting to note that the protagonist identifies the suffering of the Bosnians with that of Jews during the Holocaust. He talks about how Israel helped Bosnian refugees during the war, and its need to be vigilant against its enemies. This is surprising, considering that Bosnians are Muslim, albeit largely secular. Israel has diplomatic relations with Bosnia, and has extradited an accused war criminal. In Sarajevo Jews believe it's the safest place in Europe for them. This is though Bosnia recently named a school for a Muslim Nazi collaborator, and Bosnian soccer fans yelled "kill the Jews" at a match against Israel. Relations between Bosnians and Jews are as convoluted as anything else about the Balkans. Proof is that this wonderful book is a collaboration between a Bosnian and a Jew. The Bosnia List is well written and gripping. It provides an understanding of people, and of a perplexing and often violent part of the world. I strongly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-12-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Yugoslav wars repeat in miniature in a Balkan New York club. The slow disintegration of the club is the hook into this memoir of a child war refugee who returns for a ten-day visit as an adult. While the writing is standard, the story - and its strength is in the alternating telling through Kenan Trebincevic's child and adult eyes - is a eye-popping view into the ethnic fratricide that tore apart Yugoslavia and the scars that remain today. There is real emotional pull throughout the book as messy, nuanced, complex choices made in wartime surface. And linger for decades.
Date published: 2014-04-04