Nadja lives in Sarajevo and writes to her American cousin, Alex, to practice her English. She tells him about her secret...

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MY PLACE OF LEAVES IN SARAJEVO

Nadja lives in Sarajevo and writes to her American cousin, Alex, to practice her English. She tells him about her secret hiding place in the top of a tree, and her first letters are happy and carefree. Her letters change dramatically, though, with the arrival of war in the city. She writes of bombs falling, of no water, no electricity, and no heat in winter. She worries that her father will be shot by snipers as he waits in long lines for supplies. Her mother, a doctor, is busier than ever and often away. Alex sends letters and care packages, never knowing if they'll reach Nadja, and the overlapping dates of the correspondence reveal how slowly mail travels. Lorbiecki (Just One Flick of a Finger, p. 826, etc.) attempts to cover much of the conflict in relatively few pages, with references to Hitler and the Ustae, and to the complex religious tensions (Nadja's background is Muslim and Christian), an approach that makes the story, while moving, quite purposeful. Nadja's Slavic syntax is hard to follow at first--and the letter format limits deeper character development--but readers who persevere will grow accustomed to it, and even find it endearing.

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 47

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996