The Bosnia List

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The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return
336 pages; Penguin
When the Bosnian civil war approaches the small town of Brćko, the life of 11-year-old Kenan changes overnight. His teacher holds him at gunpoint in the middle of the street, his Karate coach shuns him and his next-door neighbor loots his family's belongings from their home. All the other Muslims have either fled, been sent to concentration camps or been killed. His family ("the last Muslim family in town") eventually are forced to run for their lives. Now, 20 years later, Kenan's an American citizen living in Queens, New York, and honoring his aging father's wish to revisit their homeland—but only because he seeks revenge against the people that wronged his family. With the assistance of writer Susan Shapiro, Kenan tells his harrowing story in two compelling narratives: One that captures his war-torn childhood, the other that traces his surprising journey home. Yes, Kenan searches to confront old enemies, but what he finds instead are "flickers of goodness that must be remembered." That the most significant parts of his life in Bosnia, he rediscovers—and re-remembers—were not filled with hate, but rather filled with "exactly enough" love—the people that helped him and his family survive. A poignant, powerful look at forgiveness.
— Pamela Masin