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The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return Paperback – Illustrated, February 25, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 228 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Trebincevic was 12, he fled with his family from their small town in the former Yugoslavia, driven out at the threat of death by the ethnic cleansing of Muslims. His childhood buddies, even his beloved karate coach, turned against him. His father and older brother were briefly imprisoned in a concentration camp. The neighbors slowly stole precious items from his mother. From the safety of adulthood in the U.S., Trebincevic is reluctantly drawn back to his homeland when his aging father longs to return for a visit. If he must go back, he wants some revenge and some closure. On his agenda: confront his neighbor, stand on the grave of his former coach, leave flowers at his grandmother’s grave. Trebincevic alternates memories of his childhood and of his life in the U.S. with its edgy attempts to get along with Serbian Americans. In Bosnia, he faces the jarring complexities of people, including himself, coping with atrocities as he finally begins to put away old resentments that have haunted him. A mesmerizing story of survival and healing. --Vanessa Bush


“The great instruction of this important work is the author’s moral transformation that helped him replace hate with grace, if not forgiveness.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A mesmerizing tale of survival and healing.”

“An engaging memoir of war trauma and the redemption to be found in confronting it.”

“A young New Yorker haunted by searing memories goes on a most unusual overseas vacation—not to sightsee or party but to confront the ordinary men and women who tore his family’s lives apart. His journey takes us into a time of mesmerizing violence and betrayal when neighbors set upon each other as though it were the 1940s all over again—a world of twisted emotions and baffling brutality lying just below the surface of his contemporary Europe. THE BOSNIA LIST is powerful, the flashbacks riveting.”  
—Tom Reiss, bestselling author of The Black Count and The Orientalist

“With understated elegance and in highly personal pointillist dots, Kenan Trebincevic illuminates how the Bosnian tragedy blighted, and continues to blight, the lives of countless people both in his homeland and in its far-flung diaspora. This important and original work reminds us, in ways large and small, of the long half-life of an atrocity.”
—David Margolick, bestselling author of Elizabeth and Hazel and Strange Fruit

“Kenan Trebincevic fights against the power of memory and his own rage in this remembrance of a time that seems like a medieval anachronism yet was barely a decade ago. This is a searing memoir of war and peace from a young man who sees through ancient rhetoric with stunning clarity, both in his home country and his adopted United States. Read this book for its impassioned honesty.”
—Tom Zoellner, bestselling author of A Safeway in Arizona

“I’m so blown away by this beautiful book.  For the first time, a young Bosnian tells a riveting coming-of-age story about the brutal Balkan war when parents disappeared into concentration camps, teachers turned on students and children betrayed children.
Two decades later, now an American citizen, Kenan returns to his homeland to confront the guilty and honor the dead in this passionate, nuanced account of a man who refuses to forget.”
—Julia Lieblich, author of Sisters: Lives of Devotion and Defiance

“Kenan Trebincevic’s story of survival and remembrance is moving, well-told, and important for all of us to hear. He makes a powerful case for courage and human decency as the only way through the divisive madness of modern life.”
—Ian Frazier, bestselling author of Travels in Siberia and Great Plains

“THE BOSNIA LIST tells a fascinating story of a harrowing and heart-rending journey. It’s a graceful, taut memoir of family, friends and faith: a moving recollection of souls being torn asunder and slowly beginning to heal.”
—Laurence Bergreen, bestselling author of Columbus: The Four Journeys

“THE BOSNIA LIST was difficult to finish because it touched me so deeply. I’ve wondered how another Bosniak could describe their tragedy and traumas, watching the transformation of former friends and neighbors becoming animals. Most powerful was how Kenan’s mother’s voice echoed in his head and became his morality, preventing him from getting revenge. She’s one of the strongest, best described female characters in Bosnian literature. And I was rooting for Kenan’s father not to succumb to evil and stay a good man. That might be why his family survived. That shows us all: if we stay good, we have a chance.”
—Dr. Esad Boskailo, Bosnian war survivor and co-author of Wounded I Am More Awake

Product details

  • Publisher : Penguin Books; Illustrated edition (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: : English
  • Paperback : 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0143124579
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0143124573
  • Item Weight : 8 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.11 x 0.64 x 7.73 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 228 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
228 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on January 2, 2016
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D R J Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it read it read it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 13, 2014
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6 people found this helpful
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Alex Elton-Wall
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fantastic book - if that is the right word to ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 18, 2014
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3 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, emotional and contemplating.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, emotional and contemplating.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2019
Great and strong book. It will keep your concentration for hours. The story gives you opportunity to feel intimate realation with the author thoughts and very easily you can imagine yourself as a shadow that is constantly over the action seating in the first row.
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jane jones
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this book down.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 19, 2014
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Reb Natan
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding a convoluted part of the world
Reviewed in Canada on December 26, 2017
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