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3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  52 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
After the Balkan war many Bosnian refugees ended up in Scandinavia. In [Refuge]e, we can eavesdrop on and witness the quirky characters that came out as the result of the war. Focusing on Bosnian women and their refusal to be victims, [Refuge]e gives us an insight into their mundane lives, small things with great meanings that make life worth living.
Paperback, 95 pages
Published 2005 by A. Mahmutovic and A. Osmancevic
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(showing 1-30 of 142)
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May 02, 2016 The_Mad_Swede rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, short-fiction
Having recently read and enjoyed Mahmutović's third book, Thinner Than a Hair , I was looking forward to dig into this first book of his. And I like it, but am also torn about it.

[REFUGE:]E is a miscellany of short fiction, poetry and other text types, including an essayistic introduction (one that almost touches the boundaries of fiction itself in a nigh Borgesian manner), most of which is held together by the character of Almasa. I should add that all of it is thematically held together, as w
Jul 01, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
This was my first win on and came while I was out of town at ALA. I sat down and read the book last night. The book mainly revolves around the character, Almasa, that is a Bosnian refugee sent to Sweden. The book gives some insight as to the horrific conditions that the Bosnians endured during the war as well as their feelings of being sent to another country. I sometimes felt, however, that we were being dropped into the middle of Almasa's thoughts. The book definitely piqued my i ...more
Jun 04, 2010 Elena rated it really liked it
[Refuge:]e tells the story of Almasa, a bosnian refugee. While the other refugees longed for the smell of Bosnia and its white houses, Almasa struggled to understand the meaning of "home" in a country where she was a stranger. We meet a soul confused by the vicissitudes of life and that had to go through horrific realities. The war outburst Almasa her family, her feelings, her dreams, her h?me;
It’s not a book about people at all happy, but, don’t know why, I ended it with a smile.
It may seem a l
Tami Nelson
May 25, 2010 Tami Nelson rated it really liked it
Well, this book was very good, and somewhat enlightening.
The character Almasa, is an old woman set in her ways fleeing a country that she has always considered her home to Sweden a place so distant and far from where she once lived. In some places in the book I get confused, without giving anything away I will just leave it at that.
Aziza and Almasa are probably a couple of my favorite characters in the novel. Favorite scenes that are touching are when they are sitting around reminiscing about
May 30, 2010 Zoran rated it it was ok
[Refuge]e is a wordy attempt with beautiful prose, but as disjointed as the life of the refugees it tries to convey.

The story is about Almasa, a young Bosnian refugee, whose whole family was killed in the war in Bosnia, and who herself was raped and suffers deep psychological wounds. Unfortunately, just as we were allowed a glimpse into her life in Sweden, interwoven with her reflections on Bosnia, the book ends. Its 90-something pages are not nearly enough to tell such a complex story. Despite
May 20, 2010 AH rated it it was amazing
I won this book on Goodreads. It arrived a few days ago from Sweden. I sat down to read it and I was literally blown away.

This book was absolutely awesome. The richness of the text, the descriptions, the language - were beautiful. Now this book is not about a beautiful topic. It is about a Bosnian refugee and her experiences. It is about finding a home when your home is taken away. It is about longing for the home that you lost.

Refuge e made me glad that I live in a peaceful country. I can trul
Lu (Sugar & Snark)
Jun 03, 2010 Lu (Sugar & Snark) rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, won
This is a book I won though goodreads:

I have mixed feelings about this book.

It grabbed me right from the first word, and I struggled to put it down.
I could immerse myself into something I know nothing about. The writing has a effortless way of drawing you in.

But on the other hand I find myself wanting more and left feeling like I'm missing the rest.

I would recommend it to everyone, and would like to know what others thought.
May 23, 2010 Mary rated it liked it
I read this book in one sitting, about 95 pages in all. It was very interesting and insightful. Each story was full of life.
Kathryn Magendie
May 06, 2010 Kathryn Magendie rated it it was amazing
Jun 30, 2010 Larisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book and can't wait to read it. These kind of books always make me so sad since I was a child of the same war. It is hard to forgive and forget those days.

Not so many pages but very powerful. I like the way author describes certain moments.

1. When Nijazeta describes the smell of the homeland throughout the seasons. The Swede was very upset with that since Sweden doesn't smell the same way. I can relate myself to this since I am leaving in another country and you can never ever forg
Mar 12, 2011 Stina rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone
Recommended to Stina by: Goodreads' first reads
I was lucky enough to win this book through Goodreads' first reads and it was send to me buy the author.

In my experience there are some books that should be read in one sitting. When I opened this one up I knew it would be one of those (lucky it was only 95 pages then).
It tells the story of a woman and hints at the things she's lost and the things she goes through after moving from Balkan to Sweden in the 1990's. The story wasn't the easiest for me to relate to but somehow the author made the c
Feb 09, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in the Bosnian situation
This was my first ever Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway win, so thank you Goodreads and thank you Adnan Mahmutovic for the opportunity to read a novel which brought me just a little bit closer to understanding the plight of the Bosnian refugees and possibly even refugees the world over.

All I've ever heard about the war in Bosnia is based on newspaper and television accounts that appeared many, many years ago. However, one thing stood out clear for me and that is the fact that (as in all wars) it i
Patrick O'Neil
Jul 10, 2010 Patrick O'Neil rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Refugee: 'a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc.' – Political upheaval, and war – nasty bits of human aggression. The end results: casualties and the displacement of people - the [Refuge:]e. Adnan Mahmutovic's small yet intense book comes from that place of upheaval. Where memories are confused. Images haunting. And the past is something to forget only it won't let you. Short chapters hit you in the head like shrapnel ...more
Chris Blocker
Feb 10, 2011 Chris Blocker rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
[Refuge]e is a photo album of words. Short stories and poems come together, creating snapshots of the Bosnian experience shortly after the Bosnian War. Those looking for a complete story will be disappointed. Even though the book largely follows one girl, Almasa, a Bosnian refugee, there isn't much of a story here; yet [Refuge]e speaks volumes.

Mahmutovic's language in this book is wonderful. The pieces are moving. It is well worth the short time (the book is only 90 pages) it takes to invest in
Jun 27, 2010 Kayla rated it it was amazing
When I learned that I won this book, I was ecstatic. Weeks later, when I still hadn't recieved my copy, I was disappointed. Little did I know that my copy of [Refuge:]e was being sent from Switzerland-and was also signed! It was definitely worth the wait.

This book is much more serious than that which I've read lately, a nice refreshing change. The diction of [Refuge:]e is smooth and elegant; though the book itself is quite short, the powerful messages it conveys linger even after I've put it dow
Oct 15, 2010 ♥Xeni♥ rated it did not like it
Shelves: bookmooch, war, first-read
I won this book in a GoodReads First Reads Giveaway.

This was an okay book. It took a while to pick up, but in all I'll rate it 2 stars, since it wasn't all that riveting.

For me, personally, I was interested at first in the subject at hand, but then I realized that it wasn't all that interesting. Normally books that deal with the aftermath of a war have interesting tales, but this one just didn't capture me. Perhaps because it deals with a section of the world I am normally not interested in, bu
Jolie Kerenick
Jun 12, 2010 Jolie Kerenick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This was the second first-reads book I have won. I am a girl of many words, yet I feel speechless. I hear the news tidbits of war in other countries on CNN or NPR like so many others, but clearly I have not really heard. This book has given me a more first hand look at the experience of the atrocities on a more personal level. It is more like a glimpse really, because I can not pretend to actually understand or feel what it is like to live through what Almasa, Aziza or the others have survived. ...more
Dec 02, 2010 Elly rated it it was amazing
This book is not for the faint of heart, nor is it something to read for bed-time stories. It contains stories of Bosnian refugees in Sweden. The first one starts on the bus leaving Bosnia.

As the war experiences of these Bosnian refugees were horrible, their stories hit hard. It tells about a young woman who lost her parents and her brothers, while she was raped. It tells about an old woman from Srebrenica, who had only sons, and grandsons, and all of them were missing after the Srebrenica massa
Jul 04, 2010 Meghan rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
There is no coherent story-line, no consistent character between chapters (Almasa was mentioned 3 or so times, but I could not tell it was the same character other than the name... maybe it wasn't?), nothing to tie each chapter together to be in a book. Maybe this was done intentionally because the pervading theme this book exudes is that a refugee has no home, no place of safety.

This book did spark an interest into the conflict in Bosnia and why it all happened, but none of that was explained
Jun 26, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
what i really liked about this book is the tone. A lot of times when the subject is taken up by the author the emotion is cheapened and forced with metaphors and too much emotional masturbation (for lack of a better term). This book is raw and true. It does not pretend to be anything other than what it is. It brings the confusion, and helplessness of the situation and I felt like I was being swept up in a tide that would move with our without me. Truly fine work. The book is less than 100 pages, ...more
Jul 16, 2010 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, concise
In his review of it below, Zoran wrote:

"[Refuge:]e is a wordy attempt with beautiful prose, but as disjointed as the life of the refugees it tries to convey."

I could not agree more. However, I disagree with him in that I think it was written disjointedly to add to the experience of reading it. What is unique about the book is its combination of brevity, subject matter, and the experience it invokes. I must admit there were times where I was probably as confused as a refugee, but that is the po
Jun 14, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
I loved this book.I read it in 2 days,the author is fantastic.I have been reading for many years and I would love to read other books from this author.The story is so heart breaking and so honest I had a hard time putting it down.when the author describes the people it is like you can see them.I felt so sad for the people.I think people take for granted having a home and a country that they trust will not turn on them.This was very upsetting that people were violated so bad and stripped of every ...more
Jun 13, 2010 Sheila rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this through Goodreads First Reads, autographed by the author and mailed from Sweden. Thank you, Adnan.
And while I admit I am not an expert by any means on the Bosnian War, I was actually quite clueless about the systemic use of rape by the military forces against the Bosniak women in this war. Reading this book opened my eyes, and made me want to learn more about what happened to these refugees, and I've been spending some time researching online. Thank you Adnan for openi
May 28, 2010 Simmons rated it liked it
I received this short book from the author through Goodreads.It didn't really know what to expect. The book is about Almasa, a Bosnian refugee living in Sweden. The book is written as short stories, connected but with gaps and broken links, as if to demonstrate the discontinuity of her life as a refugee. How found parts of the book hard to read, as the vivid horrors of the Bosnian war is told. The book wasn't an easy read, but helped me see and try to understand and sympathize with the victims o ...more
Jul 03, 2010 Ira rated it really liked it
When this book arrived in the mail, I was confused. "Who do I know in Sweden?" I thought. But when I opened it, excitement instantly started coursing through my veins at the chance to read [Refuge:]e. Soon I found out how founded my excitement was. I couldn't put it down - it was as if the book was glued to my hands. The story kept pulling me onward, I never wanted to stop.

This book is a masterfully written novella that is sure to leave you wishing for more when it is finished.
Nov 12, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a wonderful book that tells the story of someone who has survived a war and now must try to resume living a normal life. The descriptions were vivid. The characters were heartbreaking and inspiring. The story is relatable yet it is obvious that anyone who has not gone through the same experience can never understand how difficult, nearly impossible, it must be to live when everything that you understand has been ripped away from you.

I won this book from First Reads.
Aug 27, 2010 Kacey rated it did not like it
I won this book on goodreads and it didn't live up to the reviews I have read. I am wondering if I read the same book (?) There was no coherent story line, I wasn't always sure which character I was reading about. It was grim and mundane, I think on purpose, but so much so that I got absolutely nothing out of it. It's only 90 pages or so and I was so lost and confused when I finished, I almost started it over to see if I missed something. Not recommended.
The life of Bosnian refugees is something I know nothing about, but this collection of fictional accounts cut right into me. In my experience it is unusual for a man to have such insight into women's lives as Mahmutovic shows in [Refuge]e. Although at times a bit disjointed, the beauty, strength, & pain of the women's stories are a constant, & I wonder if maybe the disjointed nature of the telling isn't an intentional structural metaphor for their lives.
Alexander S...........
May 28, 2010 Alexander S........... rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teacher's, doctors, social workers's
Recommended to Alexander by: author
Good book
but not for everyone
to comprehend the [Refuge:]e you have to be a refuge... or at least see and smell war in reality - not from CNN report
pain never goes away - only some-times recollection of event get a little less painful.
pain and hate - problems hidden - real or not - there ... - inside
I think this book should be in Canadian High School curriculum....
Salam, Shalom, Peace, Mir, Spokoie...
May 29, 2010 Margaret rated it it was ok
My 3rd giveaway win and the best so far.
I want to give it 2.5 stars really. The story is grim, obviously, but also ever so slightly hopeful. But I found the book too slight and fractured to carry the weight of the subject matter.
It's very readable - I read it in a single sitting - but that's not more than about 40 mins.
I will definitely be looking for other work by this author.
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Adnan Mahmutović (1974) became a refugee of war in 1993 and ended up in Sweden. He worked for a decade with people with brain damage while studying English and philosophy. He has PhD in English literature and MFA in creative writing, and he is currently a lecturer and writer-in-residence at the Department of English, Stockholm University. His stories have dealt with contemporary European history, ...more
More about Adnan Mahmutovic...

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