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Stillness: And Other Stories Hardcover – May 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374269998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374269999
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,366,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In one of 16 sterling stories in Brkic's indelibly empathic debut collection, an artist takes his professor wife's face in his hands as they're about to be evacuated from besieged Sarajevo and thinks, "how ill-equipped we were for the grimness of war," a sentiment shared by most of Brkic's rapidly sketched yet fully realized characters. Of Croatian descent, Brkic worked as a forensic archaeologist in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the war, and she now imaginatively re-creates the last days of the dead and the sorrows of the displaced, writing with astonishing narrative grace, deep respect, and economy of both language and emotion. Brkic discerningly portrays a sniper and a peace broker, exiles stoic and hopeless, mothers longing for news of missing sons, and, in the exquisite title story, a man who, like thousands, has lived underground during months of shelling because "stubborn survival is our only rebellion." But survival to what end when so many are lost and so much is destroyed? Brkic's refined, surprising, and resonant stories encapsulate the truth about humankind's capacity for violence, selfishness, and altruism. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Like Ondaatje, Courtney Brkic exhales a redemptionary poetic quietude onto the page. The dead of Yugoslavia peer at us from behind her words."
-Tom Paine, author of Scar Vegas

"These marvelous stories full of sharp observations and touching moments show you more clearly and passionately what people go through in a war than most books of journalism do."
-Josip Novakovich, author of Salvation and Other Disasters

"Stillness manages the difficult fusion between a subject of substantive, brutal power and a literary style of unadorned grace. Given her work in Bosnia and Croatia, Courtney Angela Brkic is uniquely suited to serve as a witness to the genocidal war in Yugoslavia. But witness in and of itself cannot achieve the authentic leap of empathetic imagination that informs--that haunts--every sentence in this original and memorable debut collection."
-Stuart Dybek

More About the Author

Courtney Angela Brkic is the author of The First Rule of Swimming (Little, Brown, and Company, 2013), Stillness: and Other Stories (FSG, 2003) and The Stone Fields (FSG, 2004). Her work has also appeared in Zoetrope, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Harpers & Queen, the Utne Reader, TriQuarterly Review, The Alaska Review and National Geographic, among others. Brkic has been the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writer's Award. Stillness was named a Barnes and Noble Discover pick, a 2003 Chicago Tribune "Best Book" and a 2003 New York Times "Notable Book". The Stone Fields was shortlisted for a Freedom of Expression Award by the Index on Censorship. She lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband and son, and teaches in the MFA program at George Mason University.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on July 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Generally stories that focus on the atrocities of ethnic wars are too difficult and painful to read, but in this vivid debut story collection, author Brkic writes of the human tragedy as fiction. The tales are of course based on the tragedy of former Yugoslavia's 'difficulties' as Bosnia and Croatia tried to erase each other's ethnic memory. She is a gifted writer, able to reduce the unfathomable horror to the level of one human being at a time.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If ever there were a book that should be read by all world leaders, this is it. Despite whatever lofty goals are used as an excuse for war, this amazingly written literary debut should make each and every one of us think long and hard about the effects of such military action. Each story reveals the pain experienced by a different citizen, whether directly involved in the fighting or not. Each experience and point of view is painful, and lasting, and not easily or perhaps ever "rebuilt" into a feeling of safety again. The common humanity in all of us has been intimately detailed and portrayed with such power; it should be a constant reminder to us of the need for mutual respect and dignity, as well. Kudos to Ms. Brkic for giving us such a meaningful gift!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Blyth on December 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was quite surprised to come to this comments page and find so few reviews. Perhaps this gem has been somewhat overlooked? I agree with all the positive comments of others but I would stress that the book's value is not only, or even mainly, in its thematic content on the horrors of war in general or this war in particular. The stories are also worth reading just because of their haunting, usually understated windows into the inner lives of people in extreme stress. The tone is pretty much one of despair and emptiness throughout--don't go here looking for inspiration or heroism. Endurance and survival are the most to be expected, and those are shaky at best. Within that limited perspective, though, the stories are very readable, insightful, troubling, and memorable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Alley on October 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After working in the living hell of the 90's Balkans, fiction can be the only way to express the horrors witnessed and experienced.

These stories take you there. You want more, and you never again want to hear about this slaughterhouse, at the same time.

This book may be all you ever want to know about these times and places. If you are familiar with what happened, then you will be compelled by the faces Ms Brkic puts on the countless victims.

Either way, this is a most rewarding book.
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