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Pretty Birds

by Scott Simon

Pretty Birds
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  • First Published:
    May 2005, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 368 pages

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An intense, startling, and tragicomic portrait of a classic character–a young woman in the besieged city of Sarajevo in the early 1990s. 1st Novel

From the book jacket: In the spring of 1992, Irena Zaric is a star on her Sarajevo high school basketball team, a tough, funny teenager who has taught her parrot, Pretty Bird, to do a decent imitation of a ball hitting a hoop. Irena wears her hair short like k.d. lang's, and she loves Madonna, Michael Jordan, and Johnny Depp. But while Irena rocks out and shoots baskets with her friends, her beloved city has become a battleground. When the violence and terror of "ethnic cleansing" against Muslims begins, Irena and her family, brutalized by Serb soldiers, flee for safety across the river that divides the city.

If once Irena knew of war only from movies and history books, now she knows its reality. She steals from the dead to buy food. She scuttles under windows in her own home to dodge bullets. She risks her life to communicate with an old Serb school friend and ...

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