The latest issue of Wasafiri is out and it’s all about the Balkans…It’s full of interesting fiction, interviews and articles, and includes my review of Tadeusz Różewicz’s Mother Departs and Adnan Mahmutović’s short story collection, How to Fare Well and Stay Fair.
Adnan’s Mahmutović’s How to Fare Well and Stay Fair and Tadeusz Różewicz’s Mother Departs are books by two Eastern European writers at opposite ends of their careers.
Mahmutović is a young writer, born in 1974, who moved to Sweden in 1993 as a refugee from the Bosnian war. His short story collection is predominantly concerned with home, or rather the homelessness of refugees and their unsettled identity. This concept permeates the collection yet is treated with level-headed subtlety. Mahmutović excels at getting his ideas across by involving the reader in the daily lives of his characters.
The title story gives us a darkly ironic overview of the experiences of a refugee. Set like a ‘how to’ guide, it takes us through the lives of people who fled Bosnia. It covers everything from the horrible to the routine. (…)