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How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  749 ratings  ·  142 reviews
For young Aleksandar - the best magician in the non-aligned states and painter of unfinished things - life is endowed with a mythic quality in the Bosnian town of Višegrad, a rich playground for his imagination. When his grandfather dies, Aleks channels his storytelling talent to help with his grief.

It is a gift he calls on again when the shadow of war spreads to Višegrad,
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Grove Press (first published 2006)
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerLooking for Alaska by John GreenThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
(good!) Hipster Literature
25th out of 82 books — 197 voters
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša StanišićAls wir träumten by Clemens MeyerTigermilch by Stefanie de VelascoGegen die Welt by Jan BrandtIm Stein by Clemens Meyer
1st out of 87 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,958)
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Kada sam bila mala, baba bi me svaki put terala iz sobe kada razvlači jufke za pitu („Da ne lete dlake“). Bio je to čitav ritual: prvo rasklopi kauč, pošto je njena jufka bila veća od tepiha, koristila se posebna plahta za razvlačenje, znalo se kako se pita slaže u tepsiju. A ja sam bila opčinjena time kako je moguće da testo bude potpuno providno koliko je tanko, a da se nikad ne pocepa, čak ni kada ga baba podigne kao da širi veš.

To mi je prošlo kroz glavu manje-više čim sam počela da čitam „W
Jun 11, 2012 oriana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to oriana by: Boldtype

I finished this book ages ago, but alas I have not had time to do up a proper review. It was spectacular, though. More soon, I swear.


Reasons why I already adore this book, even though I'm less than fifty pages in:

1. As I learned from bookfriend Brian, the other edition has a photo of a man on the cover, which it turns out (unbeknownst even to him) is Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snickett, a.k.a. my boyfriend.

2. The chapter titles are, depending on your preference, either twee and preten
Miloš Milivojević
First things first - ja nemam običaj da pišem reviewove, često zato što ne znam šta bih rekao, a još češće zato što su drugi ljudi sve to rekli bolje nego što bih ja to ikada mogao. Međutim, Vojnik je izuzetak, jer nekako imam osećaj da moram nešto da kažem posle ove knjige.

Knjigu sam dobio od voljene osobe (Jelena, hvala <3) i samim tim sam već i pre nego što sam je i započeo bio malo pod pritiskom da mi se dopadne. Pročitavši prvu rečenicu, shvatio sam da šanse da mi se ne svidi zapravo nij
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! Stanisic writes of his boyhood growing up in Bosnia before and during the war, but it's not your typical "war story," rather it's a heart-wrenching, hilarious account of an imaginative childhood that happens to include a war. For those who have ever visited Bosnia or are from there, the sites, sounds, and people will strike a true chord that will leave you longing to return. The Drina features solidly in the book as well and it is probably the best love story about the river ...more
Stanišić beautifully captures the disjointed, nonsensical chaos of wartime in a darkly comical and endearing voice. I especially enjoyed the last third of the book. Anybody who has left their homeland only to return an accidental stranger will ache at Aleksander’s homecoming.
Aug 02, 2011 Alta added it
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic (Trans. by Anthea Bell, Grove Press, 2008)

How The Soldier Repairs the Gramophone has an unusual structure: it is divided into two parts, the first one with the same title as the novel, the second titled “When Everything Was All Right” and authored by Aleksandar Krsmanovic, the novel’s narrator (and, obviously, an alter ego of Sasa Stanisic). This is not a story within a story, but rather, two twin stories, as both tell the story of a young
This is an outstanding novel! I’ve read it actually twice during last year, first as ARC which I was aiming to keep in my permanent collection but then I received definitive copy which is staying (actually it’s already taken from me) in PC. So I’ve read both, ARC and definitive book and they are the same

This book reminded me on my childhood during old Yugoslavia, there are so many familiar things, phrases, the way of thinking, positive-ness, food (OMG food!), humour... Oh and ideology, Communis
Let me over-generalize for a second and say there are two kinds of novels: the ones we read for the plot ("Gone With the Wind," say, or my beloved "Dragonlance" series) and the ones we read for the writing (Nicholson Baker's "The Mezzanine", where all that "happens" over 144 pages is that the narrator buys some shoelaces on his lunch hour). Bosnian-born Saša Stanišic;'s first novel, "How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone," which was short-listed for the 2006 German Book Prize, manages to be bot ...more
The best contemporary novel that I've read. It tells the story of Aleksander Krsmanovic, a young Bosnian boy whose family is forced to emigrate to the town of Essen in Germany during the war. He relives his childhood, memories of his grandfather, the fall of Communism, his inability to cope with death and war. He searches desperately for Asija, a girl he met in a stairwell in a crowded building as Serbian soldiers looted and destroyed. He tells stories that he can't finish.
The book's words flow
Obožavam ovu knjigu, ma proglašavam je najboljom koju pročitah u 2013.
Pisana na tako lijep, jednostavan, pitak i lucidan način, jedna od onih knjiga koje ćete pročitati u jednom dahu, i željeti još, od onih knjiga gdje ti osmjeh na momente ne silazi s lica... Njezina podloga je 'velika povijest' dok je u fokusu je ona 'mala', osobna, isprepletene su praćene očima djeteta, čije je djetinjstvo, onakvo kakvo je u početku, baš poput njegovih slika nedovršeno. Ako ste i sami odrastali tih devedeseti
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone deftly tells of the experiences of growing up and being caught up in a war. Comrade in Chief of the Unifinished, Aleksander lives a typical boy's life until his city of Visegard is thrust into war in the early 1990s. His story is one of humor and heartbreak as he desperately tries to remember everything from his former life, making lists and telling the stories of people from his city, places he frequented, and a girl that may or may not have existed and be ...more
Een goed verhaal, zou je hebben gezegd, is als onze Drina, nooit een stil stroompje, ze sijpelt niet, ze is onstuimig en breed, zijrivieren komen in haar uit, maken haar groter, ze treedt buiten haar oevers, borrelt en bruist, wordt hier en daar ondieper, maar dat zijn dan stroomversnellingen, ouvertures tot de diepte en geen gekrabbel.

Aleksander, alias Sasa Stanisic, vertelt wat zijn overleden opa zou hebben verstaan onder een goed verhaal. Hoe de soldaat de grammofoon repareert is als de Drin
Nick G
The real magic of this work is the writing. War aside, the author simply captures a child's perception of a tragic occurrence with poetic beauty. I've never experienced a voice that was this unique, perhaps even experimental, that didn't eventually become tiring on the reader. Here though, the beauty of the writing continually expands with the story. Reminds me of how a child's mind can often be more sensible than an adult's.
This is beautiful writing. Stanišić's great love for Yugoslavia shines and of course it makes me reflect sadly on what was lost. However, I think the narrative skipped around way too much. Sometimes I had a hard time figuring out what was going on. I liked the first half of the book much better than the second.
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius... A sharp narrative of the Bosnian war of the early nineties and what becomes of its survivors.
Tragically funny, poetic, quirky. Incredible talent.
Saša Stanišić
Apr 23, 2014 Saša Stanišić rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: wrote
- Was okay.
Lora Grigorova
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone:

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone is not your typical war story, though. Instead, Stanišić’s introduces us to the imaginative and magical world of Aleksandar – Chief in Comrade of unfinished things. He has painted nearly 100 paintings without finishing them. He has started many stories without ending them. And he has left Bosnia as a young boy without saving the girl he loves. Set both in Bosnia and in Germany H
Harry Rutherford
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša Stanišić is my book from Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Read The World challenge. I actually had a different writer in mind — Ivo Andrić, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961 — but when I saw this in the bookshop I switched. Mainly because most of the books I’ve been reading are a few decades old, and it’s nice to find one which is fresh out of the oven (published in German in 2006; the English translation by Anthea Bell in 2008).

How the S
Strange about this book: when I am reading it, I think it's gorgeous. It's about an interesting time, the war in the Balkans recently, and the young protagonist is funny and observant. I'm only on p. 118 or so but when I put it down, I don't long to go back to it. I'm not hungry for it but I admire it when I do read it. I suppose I'll finish it, I'm just not in a hurry.

The peas were simmering away on the thank-God-we-still-have-power. Less and less light was falling through the ventilation grill
Dec 27, 2008 Ciara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people very curious about the former yugoslavia, i don't even know who else
Shelves: read-in-2008
this is about a kid living through the conflict in the former yugoslavia & sharing his stories of living through the war via a series of reminiscences that sound a lot like parables. it had a bit of an everything is illuminated vibe, crossed with aesop's fables or something. i struggled at times with the gazillions of characters & lack of clear narrative arc. i was kind of relieved when it was over, even though a lot of the writing was quite beautiful (even in translation). & that du ...more
Фундаментален роман, модерна литература, нещо като сполучлива спойка между "Физика на тъгата" на Георги Господинов и "На изток от запада" на Мирослав Пенков.

Според мен Саша Станишич е един от най-обещаващите млади германски писатели.
"If I were a magician who could make things possible, I'd have lemonade always tasting as it did on the evening Francesco explained how right it was for the Italian moon to be a feminine moon. If I were a magician who could make things possible, we'd be able to understand all languages every evening between eight and nine. If I were a magician who could make things possible, all dams would keep their promises. If I were a magician who could make things possible, we'd be really brave."
Dacă la noi, anii ’90 au însemnat o schimbare de regim politic, în alte zone balcanice, acea perioadă a presupus o transformare şi mai dramatică, anume dezintegrarea teritorială, aşa cum s-a întâmplat în Iugoslavia. Despre ce a însemnat acest lucru, nu numai pe plan politic, economic, ci şi la nivel identitar vorbeşte Saša Stanišić în romanul Cum repară soldatul gramofonul (Polirom, 2007, în traducerea Gabriellei Eftimie). Nu este însă un roman neapărat istoric, miza lui nu este de a evoca, rece ...more
I remember feeling really excited about the potential of this book when I first picked it up in the bookstore, but when I actually started to read it in earnest, I found myself disappointed. This novel struck me as by-the-numbers magical realism, with a dash of socialist kitsch and a couple of scenes ripped wholesale out of a Kusturica film. After the first hundred or so pages, the book improved-- there are a couple of chapters near the end that are downright heartshattering-- but it remained a ...more
Strange and strangely moving. A beautiful book from a really talented Bosnian writer.
Reading it I feel like plunging into a very special world. I love it!
Nice one. Liked it better than the Hemon book.
Rambling! Only made it to page 59
Aleksandar grandit près de Viegrad, dans ce qui est encore la Yougoslavie, quand se produit un drame : la mort de son grand-père Slavko.

le serment de transformer la réalité en histoires, l'enfant espère jusqu'au bout le réveiller. Son grand-père adoré n'a-t-il pas fait de lui un magicien ? Mais il faudra que les pouvoirs d'Aleksandar soient grands car la guerre est proche.

Viendront le temps de l'exil et d'une intégration difficile dans l'Allemagne des années 1990, obsédée par le productivisme
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Saša Stanišić was 14 years old when he arrived in Germany. He fled with his parents from Višegrad to Germany. The experience changed and marked him. Stanišić settled down in Germany very quickly and learned the language. Initially he studied German as a Foreign Language and Slavonic Studies at Heidelberg University and then at the Institute of German Literature in Leipzig, where he is presently wr ...more
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“Missing someone, they say, is self-centered.
I self-center you more than ever.”
“I'm against endings. I'm against things being over. Being finished should be stopped! I am Comrade-in-Chief of going on. I support furthermore and etcetera!” 22 likes
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