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Death and the Dervish (Writings from an Unbound Europe) Paperback – August 14, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
One thing that struck me was the universality of the writing; despite being grounded in a very particular place and time, the ideas seemed in no way constrained by the society in which it was based. For this reason the discussion in these reviews on Selimovic's national affiliations - or lack of the same - took me by surprise. I lack the knowledge to contribute to this discussion, but the passage in pp.407-9 where Hassan likens the Bosnian people to Jemail read very much like an author's message.
Irrespective of this, I can't recommend the book enough. It offers some powerful insights into areas rarely explored successfully.
"Death and the Dervish" describes one such personal revolution, told from the perspective of the narrator, Ahmed Nuruddin, a sheikh at a tekke (a Muslim monastery) in Turk-occupied Bosnia. Nuruddin is a simple, contempletive, and wise character, akin to Alyosha Karamazov, whose asceticism is shattered by the mysterious and unexplained arrest and execution of his brother. Through the novel, Nuruddin broods in regret, lamenting that he might have missed an opportunity to save his brother's life. Finally, in an existential revenge scene of monumental drama and terrifying meaning, Nuruddin overcomes the restraints of his ascetic psyche and avenges his brother's death. The book ends in an unpredictable yet inevitable moment of horror--a horror so beautiful and exquisite that I had to reread the final paragraphs several times before the chills left my back.
The profound message of "Death in the Dervish" is existential at a certain level, in that it strips the characters of essential meaning and allows them to define themselves. The non-existential underlying theme, however, which frighteningly explains many events of the twentieth century, is the notion that humans are inherently evil. Not good, as a theist would believe. Not neutral as an existentialist would argue. But evil.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This historical novel set in Ottoman Bosnia is a masterpiece. Despite the fact that the psychological analysis is sometimes heavy, overall it is still a very dynamic thriller. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Burak Tarcan
This Book is by no means an easy book to read for an American. I took an Eastern European culture course and this book was a required reading. Read morePublished 6 months ago by IdahoSoldier
Nice to read reviews of this book and find out Balkan wars continue in the cyberspace long after they ended in the 1990s. Read morePublished 8 months ago by BB
I have read this novel several times. Beautifully constructed sentences. I would love it if Amazon would provide it as an Audiobook.Published 19 months ago by Lidija Nikolic
I'm not sure what to say about this book here because I feel like trying to give a comprehensive review will simply be glaringly inadequate. Read morePublished on January 29, 2013 by William T. Hopkins
At school it was compulsory to read it together with Andrić's Bridge Over The Drina. We had thirty-three hours on Andrić as opposed to three on Dostoevsky. Read morePublished on November 24, 2012 by FJNanic
This is truly one of the best novels in former state of Yugoslavia. The writer carefully introduced characters into the story and it needs some time to catch all of them, but once... Read morePublished on October 23, 2011 by Nenad Stevanovic
The rich psychological density of this novel captures well the complexities and paradoxes at the heart of human experience. Read morePublished on May 15, 2010 by Ronald Scheer