Mahmutovic is an extraordinary and gifted writer. "Thinner Than A Hair", his third work of fiction, won first prize in the Cinnamon Press first novel competition 2008.
"Thinner Than Hair" is an engaging and extraordinary first person narrative, written from the point of view of Fatima - a very interesting character - a feisty Bosnian girl, displaced to Germany due to the war. The narrative starts in Munich where she is a refugee, working as a prostitute, and her memories take the reader on a journey through her life to this point. I was particularly struck by Mahmutovic's ability to create a totally believable female narrator who I cared about. He inhabits the female psyche extremely well, enabling the reader to sink with no problem at all into the fictive world he weaves. Fatima's first real love, Aziz, is a most memorable character as well. Mahmutovic explores Fatima's complex relationships with not only the man but with his family and her own, as the clouds of war loom ever closer.
The narrative is controlled, and straight. At no time does he drop the reader into scenes or descriptive byways unless they are strictly necessary to the plot. This is Fatima's story - Mahmutovic never intrudes. And it is an important story. The poignant themes of displacement and non-belonging echo through his work, and Fatima carries these themes well, opening the eyes of this reader to the very real issues behind what it is to be in her position. It is an impressive debut novel.