Around the World in 80 Books: Bosnia Herzegovina

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What an awesome reading challenge! I'm loving all the diverse books, and I loved The Tiger's Wife.

Welcome to the next installment in my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge! It’s exactly what it sounds like: I’m trying to read 80 books from 80 different countries/cultures around the world, and to add a frugal spin, I’m trying to do it all for under $20.

Here’s my running tally so far:

$0- Library books: Russia, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Spain, Nigeria, New Zealand, China, Canada, Jamaica, Austria, Mali, Afghanistan, Persia
$2.75- Late fees on the book for Italy
$0- Free eBooks: Scotland, England, Portugal, Cyprus, Albania, Montenegro, Mongolia
$0- Gift: Turkey, Pakistan, Autism in the USA
$0- Won in a Giveaway: Jerusalem
$0- Reward for participating in Summer Reading Program: Black America
$1.99- eBook: Basque Country, Japan
$0- Paid review on an interesting read: Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Grand Total: $6.73

Today’s read was a library eBook from a few months ago. I thought I’d wait until I had two to present you with like I used to. That didn’t work out. While I have been reading books for work and personal development, I have been reading any that pertain directly to this challenge.

But onward I press, four years after setting the goal with an arbitrary deadline. I’d like to count this book for 2018, so I’m going to review it before the year closes!

Because I borrowed from the library, we’re still at $6.73. After today, I will have logged 32 books.

Bosnia Herzegovina

The Tiger’s Wife

bosnia herzegovina balkans book review

This is one of those reads that stays with you. Somewhere between historical fiction and folklore, author Tea Obreht takes you on a journey over much of the 20th century in the Balkans. The line between the realistic and the magical waivers as she weaves the story of the main character’s grandfather’s life and death.

With it she reflects on the difficult relationship between tradition and science, the shifting tides that can dramatically change lives and culture when power is exerted in the name of religion, and the underlying culture of fantasy and superstition that was shared by the people of the Balkans–regardless of which god they believed in or which ethnic group they belonged to.

She addresses shifting borders and how they affect the relationships of people who were once neighbors. She addresses the lasting effects of growing up in a country at war. This particular war narrative isn’t as intense as the autobiography from Sierra Leone.

It is more full of allegories and symbolism, much of which I didn’t completely understand the first time through. But that lack of understanding is no big deal. It gives me space to learn. To come back and read again, and appreciate the work in new ways.

I highly, highly recommend this one. Despite the fact that the pages were full of self-aware fantasy which occasionally jumped back into reality, I found myself questioning whether this was an autobiography throughout the read.

It was not. The Tiger’s Wife was just a beautifully told story that I’d suggest be read far and wide.

Have a recommendation for what I should read next? Leave it in the comments! Here’s what’s already in my queue:
Philippines: May Day Eve and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin recommended by Guiltless Reader
Iceland: Scarcity in Excess by Arna Mathiesen & Thomas Forget
Sudan: The Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih recommended by Kate Wilson
Ethiopia: The God Who Begat a Jakal by Nega Mezlekia recommended by Based On a True Story
French Antilles: Victoire: My Mother’s Mother by Maryse Conde recommended by Based on A True Story
Suriname: The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod recommended by Based On A True Story
Germany: In the Garden of Beasts or Devil in the White City by Erik Larson recommended by Emi from AIP Around the World
Haiti: All Souls Rising by Madison Smartt Bell recommended by Tre from House of Tre
South Africa: Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton recommended by Emily from The John & Jane Doe Guide to Money & Investing
Australia: In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson recommended by Aaron from When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Vodka
Romania: Anything by Andre Codrescu recommended by Abigail from I Pick Up Pennies
Croatia: Girl at War by Sara Novi recommened by Erin from TexErin-In-Sydneyland
India: Malguid Days by R.K. Narayan recommended by Michael from Stretch a Dime
Vietnam: The Refugees by Viet Than Nyugen recommended by Nicole from Adventures of a Semper Fi Family

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