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Fragments of War Paperback – August 27, 2012
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"Based on the author's experiences as a humanitarian worker ... written in a smooth and intelligent manner.... Perhaps Mishka Gora's novel will be an inspiration for Croatian directors to finally make a good feature film about the aggression against Croatia which will be understood by all the world." Jadranka Juresko-Kero, Vecernji List
"Mishka Gora's abundant use of dialogue achieves verisimilitude... she possesses the essential professional storytelling skill which arouses the senses to feel and see the reality that once was... an amazingly rich, emotionally detailed portrait of human nature." Ina Vukic, Croatia, the War, and the Future
About the Author
Mishka Gora is an Australian writer who specialises in the areas of conscience, war, international justice, and the former Yugoslavia. Her articles criticising the ICTY’s handling of the cases of Generals Ante Gotovina and Malden Markac have drawn international attention, and this work is featured in the 2012 Croatian documentary film Udruzena Nepravda (Joint Injustice). She worked as a humanitarian aid worker in the former Yugoslavia in 1993, holds degrees in American Studies, Philosophy, and History from Monash and Brown universities, and her doctoral work on conscience won the 2007 George Yule Essay Prize.
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Mishka Gora's pungent novel, most aptly titled "Fragments of War" (ISBN 1 4791 1141 4), launched on 7 September 2012, is mainly set in Croatia (although delivering fragments of gut-wrenching brutality in Bosnia as well) during the 1990's war of Serb-led Yugoslav Peoples' Army and rebel Serb aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although the characters in this novel are fictitious their stories, their experiences, their encounters, their heartbreaks and frequent sighs of helplessness in the face of human brutality and misery reflect the true and intense realities of that war.
Mishka Gora's abundant use of dialogue achieves verisimilitude, real life-likeness. Her own personal experiences in the active role as an Australian humanitarian aid worker in Croatia during the war within which the marrow of "Fragments of War" is drawn undoubtedly contributed, with stark reality and untainted truth, to the body of text cemented on the book's pages. Being a historian and academic she possesses the essential professional story telling skill which arouses the senses to feel and see the reality that once was, no matter how unforgiving or unforgivable that reality might have been.
Using this mise en scène as the spine of her plot, Mishka Gora has through moments and occasions, through fragments of Trysta's otherwise continuous humanitarian aid work during the time encapsulated by the plot, constructed an amazingly rich, emotionally detailed portrait of human nature that addresses several perennial themes -- truth telling, altruism, camaraderie, compassion but also ethnically charged brutality-- while reaching outward to show snippets of a horrendous and merciless existence that befell the innocent and exploring the relationship between time past and time present; the burden of history that breathed with political misconstruction weighing down as likely culprits for ethnic conflicts that jump at us as seemingly endemic ethnic hatreds, when the truth lies elsewhere...
On its most fundamental level "Fragments of War" recounts Trysta's (humanitarian aid workers') daily tasks and heartbreaking encounters within refugee camps in Croatia (Dalmatia and Vukovar) that bore the material and emotional support of both Croatian and Bosnian Muslim refugees and displaced persons, running in their hundreds of thousands but also the crime sprees of Serb rebel and Yugoslav People's Army that included armed looting of humanitarian aid convoys intended for refugees, rape camps and murderous pursuits where human lives and freedom held no value to the aggressor... A MORE DETAILED REVIEW MAY BE FOUND AT [...] THOROUGHLY RECOMMENDED