I can see how this book is important. It appears to be mostly autobiographical and shares memories of a woman which coalesce around the Balkan War and exile from.
The writing style is befittingly fragmentary, and this has a disorienting effect on the reader as you encounter pieces from her mother’s diary, her own experiences of exile, reflections on memory, political treatises, photographs and the way they shape the past, stories of friends and acquaintances, descriptions of literary events, magic realism, vignettes of Berlin.
Although there is coherence, you never feel like you’ve got a grip on anything and, for me, this was an unsettling experience. While I appreciated that this is probably exactly what Ugresic was after, I came away wanting more of a documentary account. She certainly never intended that it would be something of that nature, I’m sure.
It’s a novel about how war displaces and leaves you feeling numb and alienated from everything and, for that, it’s an important book. I just about got there but it’s definitely a bit to philosophical for me.