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on 7 December 2007
This is a quite simply stunning book. "S" is a Bosnian Muslim teacher in a small village when war breaks out with Serbia.The account of her mundane capture by Serb irregulars, and subsequent incarceration and abuse in a camp is both shocking and intensely moving.Moments of tenderness among her fellow internees and horrifying moral choices interweave to prevent the reader becoming numbed to the sheer inhumanity of her experiences.

I am not an over sensitive reader,(I have been a Police Officer for 20 years)but this is an affecting book that I read in one sitting and will read again.Highly recommended.
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on 17 June 2011
As a member of forensic teams in the Balkans, I helped gather evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity and dealt with the victims of Omarska and Luca camps. Examining and recording some of the dreadful atrocities committed by the perpetrators left me at a loss in understanding the mindset of the killers and abusers of innocent men and women. Reading this beautifully written book has helped me come to terms with the disturbing images that still visit me during the night in my sleep.
I wish that everyone who failed to understand the Balkan wars and how neighbours turned on one another, reads and learns from this book. The atrocities and use of rape as weapons of war continues to this day in other countries. Slavenka Drakulic's words are as relevant and important today, as they were about what happened during the nineties.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 September 2014
Be very clear, this is a novel about women kept as sex slaves in a concentration camp - so naturally it is harrowing and dark. If you are ok with reading about that, then you'll find a well written story about a young Bosnian teacher who is one of these unlucky women and eventually escapes, pregnant, to Sweden.

The characters are all referred to only by an initial. I didn't entirely understand why - I felt it made the story harder to read, was sometimes confusing, and potentially reduced my ability to fully identify with the characters. The one-letter-only made them seem anonymous and less human, which may have been the intention, but as a reader I want to feel close to the characters.

The book describes how 'S' is taken from her home together with the other village women and children, one ordinary morning. It then narrates her life in the camp, details her release and journey to Sweden, and the birth if her child.

There are no punches pulled here. There are descriptions of rape and of murder, and of the various lesser horrors of the camp. Readers who have personal experience if these things and may find them more upsetting than others should think twice about reading.

For me, although it is uncomfortable reading and sad, it is a story that should be told and brings to light the terrible plight of women in that conflict but also is a reminder that rape is still used as a weapon in many wars right now. It is well written in quite a matter of fact style. The story is compelling and well paced and although it is hard hitting it is never gratuitous and does not in any way glamourise the events.

I would recommend this novel to readers who are prepared to read about this subject. But do think carefully first if you are, particularly if there is a risk of it opening old wounds for you.
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on 30 November 2011
This book should be on high school reading list. I read in in 2 days and I cried at the end. It was devastating book, the one question was in my head the entire time-How can people cause so much pain and suffering to each other? Hard to read at times but still brilliant book.
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on 30 December 2014
Excellent book,well written,speaking as a man,I hang my head in shame ,at the inhuman and unacceptable way,men, devalued and abused women!!
Using ,rape as a weapon of war,should be labelled as a despicable war crime and the perpetrators and the so called leaders who actively encourage it,should be ,tried and punished ,how ever long it takes to track these cowards!
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on 8 December 2011
This book, although a work of fiction, could easily be an account of what happened. I treat these people with therapy and these are the stories that are heard all the time. It was the Bosnian women survivors of these camps that brought rape to the attention of the Hague and got it recognised as a torture and war crime and thus triable, so the perpetrators can be tried and punished at last.
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on 13 August 2011
I have just finished reading this wonderful but very sad book.Idid not think it was possible in this day and age for men to treat women so badly.It was written in 1992/1993 times and have we changed since then.
War brings out the worst in people and it was truly shown in this book.
But the inner strength these women had was remarkable.
Ethnic cleansing at it's worst.
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on 5 May 2014
Really good book, but it just ended...I kept flipping the page thinking there was more, but nothing. Still worth reading & gives good insight into that war & time.
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on 24 December 2011
not what i exspected i think it is more for women than men,dragged out a bit to slow for my taste. (as if i`m not there)
yours ray v
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