Vast, generous-spirited story of family across the face of the 20th century in the turbulent Balkans . . . There is beauty aplenty, and ample monstrosity, in Jergovic's account, as well as many moments of mystery: a beekeeper's coded journal, the alpenglow that surrounds Sarajevo as surely as a besieging army, the "living torment" that is existence, all come under Jergovic's empathetic eye. A masterwork of modern European letters that should earn the author a wide readership outside his homeland.–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Miljenko Jergovic has lived as a "foreigner" in Zagreb since 1993, where, as narrator, he channels stories of Sarajevo and the ways in which the city has embodied the 20th century's major flash points–religious intolerance, virulent nationalism, and world wars . . . Jergovic devotes the first section to quotidian ancestral history, but even here the scope widens with soaring chapters on the geopolitical changes after WWII . . . dozens of shimmering vignettes build to the hallucinatory novella-length capstone "Sarajevo Dogs" . . . [Jergovic's] astonishing project offers endless rewards.
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A superb English translation . . . Kin
is deeply interested in moments that trickle down through the years, and how, even when languages and the names of countries have changed, when wars have completely reshaped the region, these fleeting seconds have stayed rooted in a family's mind.–Sarah McEachern, Los Angeles Review of Books
In [an] excellent translation . . . Jergovic mythologizes his family's history in the manner of Thomas Mann . . . Writing about Sarajevo and its geography, Jergovic delivers a nostalgic, angry, and beautiful tribute to his hometown.–Damjana Mraovic-O'Hare, World Literature Today Kin
, Miljenko Jergovic's time-travelling, place-hopping epic, is at once a history of family and an ode to Yugoslavia. Spanning the entire 20th century, Kin
traces the palimpsestic layers of the region's past from the two World Wars through to the turmoil of the 90s. Taking the dusty objects of his family's past and his own pockmarked memories as the subjects of his enquiry, the book is as much a comment on memory's elusive surface as it is a social history of the region.
[Jergovic is] a poet, novelist, and journalist of the highest caliber...His concern is for the living and in this collection of stories about Sarajevo and its inhabitants he writes about them with the seriousness, sensitivity, quirky intelligence, and gentle humor of a master of the short story. – The New Republic
Jergovic has the mien of the rare author whose gift is so innate he need only conquer a few demons and steady his hands enough to write it all down.
–San Diego Union Tribune
From baking to beekeeping, from Satan to citizenship, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to war, famine, and poverty, Jergovic covers the gamut of a hundred year period, a variety of languages, nationalities, religions, historical events and famous and ordinary people . . . Fact or invented, this is a superb family novel.
–The Modern Novel
Jergovic is neither naïve nor sentimental about the uses of storytelling . . . In a land marked by death and disappearances, storytelling saves the murdered from oblivion . . . In a region scarred by ethnic conflict, of missing persons and forgotten graves, the simple domestic act of remembrance can transform into a more powerful statement against the politics of hatred and annihilation. It is in the everyday that Jergovic hopes to find salvation enough for the entire world. –Duncan Stuart
...a multilayered and complex text, which demonstrates why Jergovic is one of the most prominent Croatian authors and one of the most translated European writers.
–World Literature Today on Mama Leone, a winner of Italy's 2003 Premio Grinzane Cavour for Best Book in Translation
Charting the complexities of the past hundred years as endured by just one family ... Kin
illustrates how consequences ripple across the generations and along chains of kinship, whether those ripples [are] formed by actions within the family or imposed upon it by social conditions of the time. . . . Translator Russell Scott Valentino . . . gracefully performed an enormous job.
–Tom Bowden, Book Beat