Forest Spirit

Laguna, 2006, 184 pages
19-pages excerpt available in English

Bosnian Writers’ Association Book of the Year
Shortlisted for “Jutarnji list” literary award
Shortlisted for The Meša Selimović Award

A cruel yet gentle story of Belgrade, street fights and growing up just to build the male ego, ending in a besieged Sarajevo, where the ones that are different and seemingly weaker prove to be the strongest and the best in the bunch.

Goran Samardžić’s first novel Forest Spirit offers a vivid, direct depiction of a “corner” in the center of Belgrade, with all the attempts of “homeboys” to prove their strength and find any available means to rise above their background. This doesn’t mean this book gives a typical treatment of the problem of growing up in the rough part of the city. Tumultuous and occasionally stirring Belgradian day-to-day life of Kosta, his girlfriend Dijana, her gay brother and the local tough guys turns out to be some sort of a mental introduction to war, specifically to the Siege of Sarajevo. The traits that cause juvenile violence are recognized, enhanced and laid bare, in the extreme story of war, which is described in this novel without any ideological ballast.

Samardžić writes about the war, his bleak and strong fragments can be placed among the best work written on the subject. The sharp sentences leave scars not just on the paper, but also on/in the reader.

Jagna Pogačnik | Jutarnji list

I love books in which you can feel the author’s stylistic dexterity and attention to sentence formation. This will remain one of the more important books in my mental library, (…)

Zoran Ferić | Nacional

…we are talking about the author who has demonstrated, already in his earlier works, to be a master of prose .

Ahmed Burić | Dani

Forest Spirit is a chronicle of growing up on the hard concrete of Belgrade and maturing in the heat of the Siege of Sarajevo.

Selvedin Avdić | Start

This is a novel that, with the force of a Cossack march. won over the audience and literary critics (…) it reads in one deep breath, but you feel sorry for having read it too quickly when you come to the last sentence (…).

Faruk Šehić | Quorum

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