by Courtney Angela Brkic - £8.99 Granta (2005)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781862077973 | ISBN 10: 1862077975
When she was 23, the author joined a UN-contracted forensic team in Eastern Bosnia. Unlike many aid workers, Brkic was drawn there by her family history; although fluent in the language, she was advised to avoid letting local workers discover her ethnicity. Brkic set up a morgue in Tuzla, assisting pathologists with autopsies and laying out personal effects for photographing. Later, she helped excavate graves at Srebrenica, where many thousands had been indiscriminately slaughtered. As Brkic describes the gruesome work of recovering remains and transcribing the memories of survivors, she also explores her family's history in Yugoslavia, telling of her grandmother's childhood in Herzegovina, her early widowhood, and her imprisonment during World War 2 for hiding her Jewish lover; and she uncovers a shocking family secret. A unique perspective on the tragedy of the Balkans - a powerful and wise book about family secrets and the aftermath of war.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2014)