Under pressure by Faruk Šehić

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under pressure by Faruk Šehić

Bosnian fiction

Original title – Pod Pritiskom

Translator – Mirza Puric

Source – Kickstarter copy

I don’t do many kickstarters but when Istros did one for this book the second book by Faruk Šehić they wanted to publish they choose to do a kickstarter. I choose the one that gave me a copy of the book and a tote bag. Faruk Šehić was studying to be a vet when the Bosnian war broke out and he joined the army eventually he led a unit of 130 men. He chooses to study literature after the war and when he published his first book and was part of the mangled generation of writers that were born in the ’70s and lived through the war. This book won the European Union Prize for literature.

I got drunk and fell asleep on the wooden stall where Jagoda displayed her groceries, in front of the Austro Hungarian residential building in which I lived

I was wearing light shorts and a T-shirt.

Mother saw me from toilet window.

They brought me in holding me by the arms

washed my faceover the tub.

I felt like a foreign object within a foreign object.

I looked like a weary robot

the first of the Haiku from the Haiku diary

 

This book is made up of a number of stories in different styles of writing they are fragmented that capture what is the story of the fifth army as they fight and also in those downtimes in the war in the Krajina area where 200000 people were forced from there homes. We have an intro that uses the river Una The smell of the river and the birds on the river. Then straight into a man heading to the foggy frontline as he talks about his hierarchy of life which is

  1. war
  2. Alcohol
  3. poetry
  4. love
  5. war again

So even thou he has love and poetry war is still there his favorite book is Plexus by Henry Miller and his favorite weapon is Hungarian Kalashnikov. Elsewhere he has Haiku diaries then we have more frontline action people returning to the frontline after the last time burying comrades then we have those that fell apart on the psych ward a soldier lets loose about what happened in the war. The tales bring forth the horrors and also the comradeship of wars. later on, there is a touching list of fighters

NOw I weigh 70,000 g. I was 180 cm tall last time I was measured whin I served in the Yugoslav people’s Army. My eyes have turned darker, probablyfrom alcohol. Juicy, kosa, Ani and I are standing in front of the Cafe Ferrar.Hari Palic toook the picture,Its a colour photo…..

The image is cold and objective an embalmed section of wartime, I assume we’ll live forever in that piece of plastic coated paper. But, before we ride into immortality wearing the invulnerable faces of dead men, we ride into Cafe Ferrari for an aclohol rhapsody.

The opening and close of a passage calle the The photograph that captures how war has craved these men into lean mean fighters but also I love that it is a monent and those four may not get through it to the end but live in the picture!!

I had read Quiet flows the Una his debut book but never got to review it.I will get to that one at som,e point but now I will give my thoughts on this book. It is a book that isn’t for the faint-hearted it has warts and all view of the war but it also has those other reflections on how they grasp at the literature when they can or grab at love or just a woman to keep them warm. The language is rough in an interview he said he had liked the way the translator Mirza Puric had tried to recreate the dialogue as they would have said it with there local accents so it is in place it is like being in a working man’s club but for me, that is the feel of the frontline those men. This is a brutal world that has been brought to life in these stories it is a fragment in nature rather like the war for those that fought it. A powerful collection.

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African Titanics by Abu Bakr Khaal

African Titanics by Abu Bakr Khaal

Eritrean fiction

Original title –  تيتانيكات أفريقية

Translator – Charis Bredin

Source – personnel copy

I have reviewed a few books from the small publisher Darf over the last few years. I picked up this recently as it was a book from a country I haven’t read from, but also a story that appeals as it is  the tale of many people trying to seek a new life in Europe. Abu Bakr Khaal followed the route described in the book and himself spent many years in Libya and the in a refugee camp in Tunisia.Before living in Denmark.

I do wonder how many nicknames. I’ll bear throughout my life. In Khartoum I was known as Awacs(The Airbourne warning and Control System) because I’d refuse to go to bed at night til I’d garnered evryy last useful scrap of information from the world of immigrant smuggling, by land, sea and air. From mt lodgings in Khartoum I kept track of the number of Titanics that left North Africa’s shores bound for Europe evry Summer.I was always informed of the most recent departures and whether or not the boats had reached dry land.

The Gamble they all take using these make shift crafts to reach their dreams in Africa.

This book mix the present with the past as we follow one young man’s journey from his home in Eritretooo Libyia and then Europe. Abdrar has been hearing tales of life in Europe and we get to follow his journey from his home first to Sudan Khartoum after he is arrested at home .In Khartoum, there are many smugglers there to  take people on  their journey north through the mainland of Africa.  We see how they charge people different amounts for here they come from. All the time there is a thread of folk tales and previous migrants stories underlying the tale. Till they arrive in Libya and take what they call those African Titanics, those makeshift and often overcrowd former fishing boats and other put together ships that the refugees sail on. The latter part of the book is like a collective tale of these people a fellow traveller Malouk who you may sense might even be a ghost tells tales and then is lost at sea, but then is seen again in the Med by other people on one of the African Titanics!

To all the pounding hearts

In feverish boats

I will cut

Through these paths

with my own liberated heart

And tell my soul

To shout of your silenced deaths

And fill

Palms of dust with morning dew

And song

I Choose the end lines as they are so powerful a song sung by the ghost Malouk on the Med.

This is a short but hard-hitting Novella that is the voice of many those lost and the trail to Europe that Abdar and many others through the years have followed to Libya to Tunisia and then frequently to drown in the Med. The style of this story reminded me of the early books by Ben Okri that mix so well African folktales, Magic realism and realism into a story that like the smoke of the refugee’s fires at night drifts in the air and becomes a collective voice for the many. It also highlights the horrors faced and the Exploitation of those seeking a new and better life away from their horrors of their homelands. May I also point out that Darf is running a fundraiser for the second part of The Confines of \shadow by Alessandro Spina I reviewed the first part a couple of years ago.

This is a review of a fiction novel and no person in the text is based on a real character or organisation.

 

 

Bohumil Harbal Too loud a solitude – Kick starter

 

I got an email from the makers of this project a film of the book Too Loud a solitude by the Czech writer Bohumil Harbal .link to the kickstarter page 

EW YORK, NY (October 11, 2016) – Award winning artist and short film director Genevieve Anderson (“Boxed”, “Sunlight”, “ola’s box of clovers”) will bring to life Czech author Bohumil Hrabal’s beloved novella Too Loud A Solitude (Příliš hlučná samota ,1976), marking her feature film debut and the first of Hrabal’s works to be adapted by an American director.  Hrabal fans worldwide are invited to support the project via the film’s Kickstarter campaign, which launched under the Sundance Institute’s curated page on September 27, 2016 and will run through November 1.

With a script by Alex MacInnis (This American Life, “Down to the Bone”), and visual effects supervised by Evan Jacobs (“Captain America”, “Ant Man”, “Avengers”, “Alice in Wonderland”). “Too Loud a Solitude” will utilize live action puppets, animation, stock photographs and footage to tell the story of a waste paper compactor within a police state who has acquired an education so unwitting he often can’t tell which are his thoughts and which come from his books.

Golden Globe and Emmy winner and Academy Award nominee Paul Giamatti is attached to lend his voice talent to the main character of Hanta. Producers Steve Gaub (“Beauty and the Beast”, “Unbroken”, “Oblivion”), Kelly Miller (“Forgiven”, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), and Frank Rehak (Fulbright Fellow, Academy of Film & Photography – FAMU – Prague; Johns Hopkins University) are poised to begin pre-production in Spring 2017.

“The outpouring of support for this project has been amazing over the years,” said Anderson. “We have been working on this project in one form or another since 2004.” In fact, the crew was able to shoot a 17-minute excerpted version of the feature script in 2007, funded by the Rockefeller Media Artist Foundation, Heather Henson, and the Jane Henson Foundation.

Hrabal is widely considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, and has had two novels adapted to film by director Jirí Menzel, including the 1968 Oscar-winning Closely Watched Trains, and six other film adaptations [see here for the source: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2001/feb/23/classics.culture ]. Hrabal’s poignant visual writing style has had wide-ranging influence on writers, including Philip Roth and Louise Erdich [see here: http://www.themillions.com/2014/07/the-academy-of-rambling-on-on-bohumil-hrabals-fiction.html ], and artists such as the Australian singer/songwriter Nick Cave, among many others.

Renowned contemporary video artist and collaborator Bill Viola describes Anderson’s work as follows:

“Watching Genevieve’s films, and the worlds they evoke, give me the distinct impression that I am seeing right into someone’s private inner world, a place where the characters and situations were the direct embodiments of the feelings for the events and not simply their visual, dramatic representations. This indicates to me that her impressive technical skill is in service to something else.”

 

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