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Shards

by

Shards Cover

ISBN13: 9780802170811
ISBN10: 0802170811
Condition:
All Product Details

 

Awards

2013 Oregon Book Award for Fiction

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ismet Prcic's brilliant, provocative, and propulsively energetic debut is about a young Bosnian, also named Ismet Prcic, who has fled his war-torn homeland and is now struggling to reconcile his past with his present life in California.

He is advised that in order to make peace with the corrosive guilt he harbors over leaving behind his family behind, he must “write everything.” The result is a great rattlebag of memories, confessions, and fictions: sweetly humorous recollections of Ismet's childhood in Tuzla appear alongside anguished letters to his mother about the challenges of life in this new world. As Ismet's foothold in the present falls away, his writings are further complicated by stories from the point of view of another young man — real or imagined — named Mustafa, who joined a troop of elite soldiers and stayed in Bosnia to fight. When Mustafa's story begins to overshadow Ismet's new-world identity, the reader is charged with piecing together the fragments of a life that has become eerily unrecognizable, even to the one living it.

Shards is a thrilling read — a harrowing war story, a stunningly inventive coming of age, and a heartbreaking saga of a splintered family.

Review:

"With this frenetic debut novel set during the Bosnian war, Prcic proves that it's impossible to outrun your past. The narrator, whose name is Ismet Prcic, recounts his childhood in Tuzla before the war and his adolescent interest in theater, which led him to a drama festival in Edinburgh, and his escape to America in 1995. But Prcic's tale is complicated and nonlinear; intercut with his youthful days in Bosnia spent avoiding Serbian mortar attacks are snippets of his rapidly deteriorating life in California, letters to his depressive mother back home, and, in a most intriguing twist, the story of another young Bosnian man, Mustafa Nalic. Instructed by his American psychiatrist to 'write everything' (and take Xanax), Prcic at first seems to have invented Mustafa as a counterpart to his own life: Mustafa the soldier who remained in Bosnia. But as the fictional Prcic continues to deteriorate in the U.S., losing his girlfriend and his fragile grasp on reality, Mustafa morphs from fictional construct to flesh and blood until Prcic cannot separate his memories from what 'Mustafa' imagined. Though the intricate structure proves challenging at times, Prcic captures the insanity of war and its unceasing aftermath." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Impressive....Inventive....Pushes against convention, logic, chronology....Ambitious and deep...[Prcic] succeeds at writing an unsettling and powerful novel." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Fierce, funny and real, it also says much about war, exile, guilt and fear." Chicago Sun Times, Favorite books of 2011

Review:

"Prcic captures the insanity of war and its unceasing aftermath." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"A playful but heartfelt debut....Brightly detailed...[Prcic is] a spirited, soulful talent." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Brilliant....With verbal glee, Prcic serves up a darkly comic vision of the terrors and misunderstandings of immigration. Tight, glorious little tales-within-tales abound, rattled off with a quick, artless naturalism....The writing is packed with one original metaphor after another, language that's almost drunk with colorful, startling images....Brimming with scraps of memory, regrets, and rationalizations, Shards leaves an indelible scar on the reader's imagination. Prcic has pieced together a young man's story from the torn and exploded remains of his former life, and the sheer power of his language leaves the reader shaken." Shelf Awareness

Review:

"Brutally vivid." The Oregonian

Review:

"The experience of reading Shards — the deliberate disorientation, the layering and morphing of events that characterize the book — reveals in a more visceral way what it might be like to live always with a full awareness of the tenuousness of civil society, of the terrible precariousness of calm." St. Louis Beacon

Review:

"Compelling, sensual detail....Prcic's prose is effective both at delineating the psychological nuances of his characters, and the sometimes-dodgy circumstances of the outside world....There is a strain of dark humor running throughout, and an elastic joy in storytelling and linguistic expression that prevents this from being a simple recitation of atrocities and pain....Well-written and thought-provoking....The story it tells is as unique and individual as the author who penned it." PopMatters

Review:

"Experimental and brutal and heart-wrenching....You just give in to it, as you do when reading someone like Faulkner...What makes Shards so compelling is, first of all, the language...which has an almost ferocious beauty. Secondly, and as important, is the organization of the book, which gives it a sense of urgency....Ismet's confusion is so vivid that it becomes ours, making us participants in this story....To have had such a life when you are so young is hard to convey without becoming sentimental or pathetic, yet Prcic has done it brilliantly." The Arts Fuse

Review:

"Innovative in form and startling in its storytelling, Shards is a brilliant debut novel from Ismet Prcic." Largehearted Boy

About the Author

Ismet Prcic was born in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1977 and immigrated to America in 1996. Shards is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

ReaderDano, October 17, 2014 (view all comments by ReaderDano)
Shards is set in Bosnia in the midst of the war in the 1990's, and the largely autobiographical novel does more than just tell a story. It grapples with memory and the difficulty of understanding the childhood you feel you remember, and the haunting question: what if I had made a different decision? Prcic constantly invents new ways to express fear and loneliness. It is beautifully written, beautifully human, and unlike many a modern piece of fiction/memoir, the story is so compelling you will not be able to step away. Please read this book because it deserves your love.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Andrea Fideler, January 6, 2014 (view all comments by Andrea Fideler)
I discovered this book when the author appeared on NPR/OPB one morning during my commute. The passage read aloud had me instantly hooked and I rushed to Powell's after work to pick up a copy. It was a relatively quick read- hard to put down, always leaving you wanting to know more. The jumps in time, the fragmented interpretation of the self, and the honest account of life in war-torn Serbia allowed me to transcend my own location and time to discover a new experience that many seem to overlook. Highly recommend this book!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Andrea Fideler, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Andrea Fideler)
I first heard about this novel, written by local author Ismet Prcic, on NPR/OPB. The passage he read aloud had me immediately fascinated. The writing style is fractured and jumps in time, lending the tension and conflict to the perspective of the reader. You are compelled to feel the pain, but the entire book is not necessarily about sadness and war torn Serbia. It's also about discovering and forming identity, questioning authority, and learning to be OK in a world that is anything but.

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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802170811
Author:
Prcic, Ismet
Publisher:
Grove Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects


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Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Oregon Book Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

Shards Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 400 pages Grove Press - English 9780802170811 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "With this frenetic debut novel set during the Bosnian war, Prcic proves that it's impossible to outrun your past. The narrator, whose name is Ismet Prcic, recounts his childhood in Tuzla before the war and his adolescent interest in theater, which led him to a drama festival in Edinburgh, and his escape to America in 1995. But Prcic's tale is complicated and nonlinear; intercut with his youthful days in Bosnia spent avoiding Serbian mortar attacks are snippets of his rapidly deteriorating life in California, letters to his depressive mother back home, and, in a most intriguing twist, the story of another young Bosnian man, Mustafa Nalic. Instructed by his American psychiatrist to 'write everything' (and take Xanax), Prcic at first seems to have invented Mustafa as a counterpart to his own life: Mustafa the soldier who remained in Bosnia. But as the fictional Prcic continues to deteriorate in the U.S., losing his girlfriend and his fragile grasp on reality, Mustafa morphs from fictional construct to flesh and blood until Prcic cannot separate his memories from what 'Mustafa' imagined. Though the intricate structure proves challenging at times, Prcic captures the insanity of war and its unceasing aftermath." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Impressive....Inventive....Pushes against convention, logic, chronology....Ambitious and deep...[Prcic] succeeds at writing an unsettling and powerful novel."
"Review" by , "Fierce, funny and real, it also says much about war, exile, guilt and fear."
"Review" by , "Prcic captures the insanity of war and its unceasing aftermath."
"Review" by , "A playful but heartfelt debut....Brightly detailed...[Prcic is] a spirited, soulful talent."
"Review" by , "Brilliant....With verbal glee, Prcic serves up a darkly comic vision of the terrors and misunderstandings of immigration. Tight, glorious little tales-within-tales abound, rattled off with a quick, artless naturalism....The writing is packed with one original metaphor after another, language that's almost drunk with colorful, startling images....Brimming with scraps of memory, regrets, and rationalizations, Shards leaves an indelible scar on the reader's imagination. Prcic has pieced together a young man's story from the torn and exploded remains of his former life, and the sheer power of his language leaves the reader shaken."
"Review" by , "Brutally vivid."
"Review" by , "The experience of reading Shards — the deliberate disorientation, the layering and morphing of events that characterize the book — reveals in a more visceral way what it might be like to live always with a full awareness of the tenuousness of civil society, of the terrible precariousness of calm."
"Review" by , "Compelling, sensual detail....Prcic's prose is effective both at delineating the psychological nuances of his characters, and the sometimes-dodgy circumstances of the outside world....There is a strain of dark humor running throughout, and an elastic joy in storytelling and linguistic expression that prevents this from being a simple recitation of atrocities and pain....Well-written and thought-provoking....The story it tells is as unique and individual as the author who penned it."
"Review" by , "Experimental and brutal and heart-wrenching....You just give in to it, as you do when reading someone like Faulkner...What makes Shards so compelling is, first of all, the language...which has an almost ferocious beauty. Secondly, and as important, is the organization of the book, which gives it a sense of urgency....Ismet's confusion is so vivid that it becomes ours, making us participants in this story....To have had such a life when you are so young is hard to convey without becoming sentimental or pathetic, yet Prcic has done it brilliantly."
"Review" by , "Innovative in form and startling in its storytelling, Shards is a brilliant debut novel from Ismet Prcic."
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