Saša Stanišić was born in 1978 in the Bosnian town of Višegrad, and has been living in Germany since 1992, when his family were forced to flee the war in the former Yugoslavia. How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone is his first novel. It was shortlisted for the German Book Award as well as winning several other major prizes, and has been translated into several languages.
“It’s usual for people to think sadly of the dead now and then. In our family that happens when Sunday, rain, coffee and Granny Katarina all come together at the same time. Granny sips from her favourite cup, the white one with the chipped handle, she cries and remembers all the dead and the good things they did before dying got in the way. Our family and friends are at Granny’s today because we’re remembering Grandpa Slavko who’s been dead for two days, dead for now anyway, just until I can find my magic wand and my hat again.”
Full of mesmerising fast turns, dynamic leaps, and boundless humour, How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone is a highly inventive debut novel about the catastophe of war and the power of words to make life anew. Josh Lacey of the Guardian has written an excellent review. We need more stories about this shameful and tragic period in recent history, in order to understand more and learn from it.
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