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Death in the Museum of Modern Art: Six Stories

Death in the Museum of Modern Art: Six Stories (Paperback)

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Very different from the rougher, blunter prose of her male contemporaries, Alma Lazarevska's stories can perhaps be described as the tender heart of Bosnian war. Writing from the domestic perspective, her prose is nevertheless deceptively simple; allowing the horror of the war to impinge with devastating effect on the most banal, everyday scene. Apart from the protagonist of the first story, the characters remain nameless. In five of the six stories we can assume that we are following the same unnamed female narrator, who refers to her husband simply as "He" and her son as simply "The Boy." In a conflict where ethnic identity is at the heart, it seems a sobering decision to dispense with names. The family in these stories are at the same time everyone and no-one. They might become bigger than themselves, standing for every group that has ever been the victim of violence due to their ethnicity; or they might represent the de-humanization that has to occur in order for such persecutions to be carried out, reduced to pronouns rather than individuals with names. "Him" and "her" seem perilously close to "it."

This collection brings home the acute unfairness of forcing that contemplation of death upon another person, of depriving them of that human freedom to dream and delude themselves. And it is a beautiful acknowledgement of the small humanities that we cling to when we are at the mercy of so much inhumanity.

Fiction & PoetryFiction in translationFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945Fiction & PoetryShort stories Publisher: Istros Books Publication Date: 30/06/2014 ISBN-13: 9781908236173  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Alma Lazarevska is a Bosnian prose writer and graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy (University of Sarajevo). Her home town is mentioned in the title of a collection of her essays, Sarajevo Solitaire. It is the setting for her novel The Sign of the Rose, which has been translated into French and German. The stimulus for the novel was the murder of Rosa Luxemburg. Her books Death in the Museum of Modern Art (translated into French and German) and Plants are Something Else (the title story has recently been included in an edition of the magazine Wasafiri) deal with siege, and a 'besieged city' without naming it. Her story 'How we Killed the Sailor', translated by Celia Hawkesworth, was included in an anthology of women writers from East and Central Europe: Voices in the shadows: women and verbal art in Serbia and Bosnia.

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