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Midwest Book Review: "Reviewer's Choice"

And Still We Rise: A Novel about the Genocide in Bosnia Jordan Steven Sher Atmosphere Press https://atmospherepress.com 9781639880669, $18.99, PB, 312pp https://www.amazon.com/Still-We-Rise-Genocide-Bosnia/dp/1639880666 Synopsis: Based on real-life events, in spring, 1992 in Prijedor, Bosnia, "And Still We Rise" by Jordan Steven Sher is a novel about the genocide that took place in Bosnia. The Kovacevic family is a Muslim family confronted with the harsh reality that they are the targets of a brutal campaign to rid the country of non-Serbs. Neighbors turn on neighbors as the nationalist Serb propaganda leads to the so-called "cleansing" of communities that destroys families and their homes. Elvir, and his fifteen-year-old son Amir, are sent to the Omarska concentration camp where torture and death haunt them daily. With a world that turns a blind eye, both suffer physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Yet they must rely upon each other if they are to survive. Hajra, Elvir's wife, and mother of their two younger children, Halima and Danis, are imprisoned in another camp called Trnopolje. They, too, must survive the atrocities that visit them including rape and witnessing beatings and murder. Hajra and the children encounter Elvir's brother, Tarik, who has been transferred to Trnopolje from another camp, only to see him disappear a short time later. As they all have learned too well in the camps, many disappear never to return. The Kovacevic family eventually leaves the camps and reconnects with Tarik's wife, Merjem, who is unable to accept the possibility of the loss of her husband. The families' trajectories lead them to journey together as they face unforeseen obstacles that must be overcome if they are to find true freedom from the trauma that continues to inform their decisions. As refugees, they move to Germany and then to America seeking to rediscover meaning in their lives after surviving genocide, grieving their losses, and to place roots in their new home. Critique: A compelling and deftly written novel that is fully supported by meticulous attention to historical detail, "And Still We Rise" is an extraordinary read that is quite timely given the present immigration crisis afflicting the European Union. While highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "And Still We Rise" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).


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