Book Beginnings: Sarajevo, Exodus of a City by Dzevad Karahasan

Not only does Gilion host the European Reading and TBR 22 in 22 on her Rose City Reader blog but also Book Beginnings on Friday. While I’m no stranger to her European Reading Challenge, only recently I decided to participate in Book Beginnings on Friday. This week I’m back with another post.

For Book Beginnings on Friday Gilion asks us to simply “share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week, or just a book that caught your fancy and you want to highlight.”


Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the county’s largest city. Founded by Isa bey Ishakovic in 1440, it is also a typical Bosnian city. Built in the Milyatska River Valley, surrounded by mountains, Sarajevo is enclosed and isolated from the world, so to speak, cut off from everything external and turned wholly toward itself.

Last week I featured Icelandic author Ólafur Ólafsson’s 2019 novel The Sacrament and the week before it was David Gilmour’s 2011 The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples. This week it’s Dzevad Karahasan’s 1994 account of a city under siege Sarajevo, Exodus of a City

Yet again I’ve opted to deviate from my originally designated 20 Books of Summer and instead read something for Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge. Since Sarajevo, Exodus of a City was translated from Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian I’ll also be applying towards Introverted Reader’s Books in Translation Reading Challenge.

Since the good people at Amazon said next to nothing about this book, other than it’s a “…firsthand account of the siege of Sarajevo and the flight of its citizens”, here’s how Publisher’s Weekly described it:

“I come from a destroyed country,” writes Karahasan, a Bosnian Muslim, in this collection of short pieces that range from elegiac meditations on Sarajevo to reflections on adjusting to life with snipers and shelling. Although translated with a clunkiness that is sadly characteristic of many Eastern European works published here, Karahasan’s account is often quietly devastating.

14 thoughts on “Book Beginnings: Sarajevo, Exodus of a City by Dzevad Karahasan

  1. This seems a tad dry, but that’s more me than the book. I’m so used to novels, but as a non-fiction book, this is helping set up the history to come. I get it. I just need a little more time to switch my brain, I think.

    Sounds like you are enjoying it. Hope it continues to be good.


    • Like I mentioned to Laurel, I’m going in with fairly low expectations with this book. So, I’ll keep my fingers crossed I’ll be pleasantly surprised in the end.
      After finishing this book and several other pieces of nonfiction my plan is to read several novels. By then I’ll probably be in the mood for some lighter stuff!


    • It does look dry and I’m not sure its unorthodox style will be to my liking. But we will just have to see how things go.
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting! Please visit again!


    • I’ll be applying it towards Bosnia for your challenge. I also have books picked out for Serbia and Croatia.
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Above all, thanks for hosting the European Reading Challenge! It’s one of my all-time favorites!!


    • Very interesting. Back when I was a company recruiter I helped hire a number of refugees from the former Yugoslavia. Some of them I think might have been from Bosnia.
      Enjoy your weekend, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to be interested in it, but history is more my husband’s jam than mine. I’d give it a try, though, and perhaps I would be pleasantly surprised. I always reckon I read plenty of dry material in law school. I tend to read lighter fare for fun! I hope you enjoy the read and learn something in the process – I do love books I can learn from.


    • Thanks! I can only imagine what kind of dry, intellectually challenging stuff you must of read in law school. My goodness, if that’s the case by all means relax with lighter fare!
      Thanks also for dropping by and commenting! Please visit again!


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