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.