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Lauded by the publisher for its contribution to understanding "the current crisis" in the former Yugoslavia, this tale of moral failure takes place at some undefined point during the Ottoman occupation of Muslim Bosnia. It was a bestseller when published in Yugoslavia in 1966, but it seems probable that its popularity lay more in its portrayal of a Yugoslavia oppressed than in any intrinsic artistry. Ahmed, the dervish of the title, has lived in religious seclusion for most of his life; his searching, self-centered and at times deranged internal dialogue constitutes most of this lengthy narrative. Selimovic (The Island; The Fortress) portrays a man hopelessly out of touch with himself and others, viciously in need of being right, secretly coveting power for himself. Groveling before authority, he knowingly betrays innocent people, yet rationalizes everything with perverted interpretations of the Koran. His brother's death, towards the beginning of the novel, and the near-destruction of the community's purest and most generous soul, by the end, enclose a tortuous psychological exposition of the perils of delusion and the ease with which fear destroys the most unyielding moral good. It is a probing portrait containing some valuable insights, yet with a character as insipid as Ahmed, it is hard to really care.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Sheikh Ahmed Nuruddin is a dervish (an Islamic ascetic) and spiritual leader of a community during the Turkish occupation of Bosnia. Having spent most of his adult years deliberately avoiding the turmoil of everyday life, he finds himself sucked into its vortex by the arrest of his brother. His reluctant investigation into the matter brings him face to face with his own moral cowardice and causes a devastating crisis of faith that calls into question the value of his entire life. Originally published in Yugoslavia in the 1960s, and subsequently translated into several languages, this late author's chef-d'oeuvre is highly recommended both for Eastern European collections as well as any collection of serious fiction.?Sister M. Anna Falbo, Villa Maria Coll. Lib., Buffalo, N.Y.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 11 days 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 11 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
The Publishers Weekly editorial review says that this book "was a bestseller when published in Yugoslavia in 1966, but it seems probable that its popularity lay more in its... Read morePublished on August 20, 2008 by Rick Woodward
The word masterpiece is too often used for all kinds of material that barely rises above the level of mediocrity. Selimovich is a master of the craft, and this is his great work. Read morePublished on October 17, 2007 by Billy Blues
A book I can say I really enjoyed (once I had finished) but I have to say it was HEAVY GOING! The author has the habit of many Eastern European writers in that he likes to go into... Read morePublished on September 26, 2005 by Gogol