The BookBrowse Review

Published June 9, 2021

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Historical Fiction

Short Stories/Essays




History, Science & Current Affairs

Young Adults


  • Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson , et al (rated 5/5)

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History

Book Jacket

by Miljenko Jergovic
15 Jun 2021
500 pages
Publisher: Archipelago Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Kin is a dazzling family epic from one of Croatia's most prized writers. In this sprawling narrative which spans the entire twentieth century, Miljenko Jergović peers into the dusty corners of his family's past, illuminating them with a tender, poetic precision.

Ordinary, forgotten objects - a grandfather's beekeeping journals, a rusty benzene lighter, an army issued raincoat - become the lenses through which Jergović investigates the joys and sorrows of a family living through a century of war. The work is ultimately an ode to Yugoslavia - Jergović sees his country through the devastation of the First World War, the Second, the Cold, then the Bosnian war of the 90s; through its changing street names and borders, shifting seasons, through its social rituals at graveyards, operas, weddings, markets - rendering it all in loving, vivid detail. A portrait of an era.

"[A]n intricate and innovative narrative encompassing biography, history, travelogue, and fiction...Jergović's exhausting and astonishing project offers endless rewards." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] vast, generous-spirited story of family across the face of the 20th century in the turbulent Balkans...There is beauty aplenty, and ample monstrosity, in Jergović's account, as well as many moments of mystery...A masterwork of modern European letters that should earn the author a wide readership outside his homeland." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Kin, Miljenko Jergović's time-travelling, place-hopping epic, is at once a history of family and an ode to Yugoslavia. Spanning the entire 20th century, Kin traces the palimpsestic layers of the region's past from the two World Wars through to the turmoil of the 90s. Taking the dusty objects of his family's past and his own pockmarked memories as the subjects of his enquiry, the book is as much a comment on memory's elusive surface as it is a social history of the region." - Calvert Journal (UK)

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Jennyjagger
Marvellous book
This is a truly masterful, magnificent read. It was spell-binding from start to finish. It connects history, destruction, life and place and family to an unbelievable overview. I loved it beyond words. A true masterpiece.

Novelist, short story writer, poet, and columnist, Miljenko Jergovic is a literary phenomenon whose writing is celebrated throughout Europe. His poetry collection Warsaw Observatory received the Goran Prize for young poets and the Mak Dizdar Award and his landmark collection of stories Sarajevo Marlboro received the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize. Mama Leone won the highly regarded Premio Grinzane Cavour for the best foreign book in Italy in 2003. His other works include Ruta Tannenbaum, The Walnut House, Buick Riviera, and Father.

Russell Scott Valentino is an American author, literary scholar, and translator. He has translated works from Italian, Croatian, and Russian, and his essays, poetry, and translated fiction have appeared in journals such as the Iowa Review, Two Lines, POROI, Circumference, and 91st Meridian. He is the recipient of NEA Literature Fellowships for translation in prose (2002 & 2016) and poetry (2010) and he received a PEN/Heim award in 2016. He currently teaches Slavic and Comparative Literature at Indiana University.

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