How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
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For young Aleksandar Krsmanoviæ, his grandfather Slavko’s credo--the most valuable gift of all is invention, imagination is your greatest wealth”--endows life in Višegrad, Bosnia-Herzegovina with a mythic quality, a kaleidoscopic brilliance. So when his grandfather dies suddenly, Aleks summons this gift of storytelling to see him through his grief. It is a gift he will have to call on again when soldiers transform Višegrad--a town previously unconscious of racial and religious divides--into a nightmarish landscape of terror and violence. Though Aleks and his family flee to Germany, he is haunted by his past, and especially by Asija, the mysterious girl he tried to save. Desperate to learn of her fate, he sends manic, anguished letters out into the abyss, again turning to language to conjure all that he’s had to forfeit--his homeland, his mother tongue, his innocence. Beneath the infectious vibrancy of Stanišiæ’s voice is a sweetness and pathos that will haunt the reader long after the book ends. Powerful, vivid, funny, and devastating, How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone captures the catastrophe of war through a child’s eyes and shows how words have the ability to mend what is broken and resurrect what is lost.