QUIET FLOWS THE UNA
Buybook Sarajevo, 2011, 218 pages
•Partial French translation
“Šehic’s compressed, hypnotic intensity is closest to Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam war novel The Things They Carried. Quiet Flows the Una brands the reader with the same brilliant heat.” —Guardian
Quiet Flows the Una is the story a man trying to overcome the personal trauma caused by the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Through an induced trance, the main character of the novel takes the reader through three time periods: the hero’s childhood before the war, the battle lines during the war, and his attempt to continue with normal life in a post-conflict society. Through poetic, meditative prose, Šehić attempts to reconstruct the life of a man who is bipolar in nature; being both a veteran and a poet. At times, he manages to pick up the pieces of his life, but at other times it escapes him. With the help of his memories, he uses his mind and strength to look for a way out of the maze in which he is confined, acting as both archivist and chronicler of the past – roles that allow him the opportunity to rebuild everything again. In parallel to this story, the book’s passages on the city next to the river Una take on mythical and dreamlike dimensions. Here, the novel expands into a poetic description of nature, seasons, flora and fauna, as well as childhood memories not yet tainted by all that will happen after 1992. Quiet Flows the Una is a book is dedicated to people who believe in the power and beauty of life in the face of death and mass destruction.