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S.

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,224 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
"S. may very well be one of the strongest books about war you will ever read. . . .The writing is taut, precise, and masterful." Set in 1992, during the height of the Bosnian war, S. reveals one of the most horrifying aspects of any war: the rape and torture of civilian women by occupying forces. S. is the story of a Bosnian woman in exile who has just given birth to an un ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published 1999)
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Orsodimondo
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: croazia
PENSAVAMO CHE DALL'ORRORE CI SAREMMO DIFESI NON VEDENDOLO, NON GUARDANDOLO...
Il titolo è una citazione dal capolavoro di Primo Levi.
È un libro duro, che si fa fatica a leggere di notte perché nel silenzio l'orrore sembra ancora più acuto.
Slavenka Drakulić è una scrittrice tosta e coraggiosa, affronta argomenti pericolosi, entra nel cuore nero dei fatti e lo racconta senza paura.
Ma usando tatto, garbo, intelligenza, sensibilità, talento.

description
Sarajevo 1993

Una giovane bosniaca musulmana viene catturat
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Lisa
This was the first Drakulic I read, and at the time, I felt incapable of writing a review, although I consider it both very well written as a novel and immensely important as a historical reflection on the routine of rape during wars.

There was a double reason why I could not put into words what I thought. First of all, I struggled with the closeness of the atrocious events: both in a geographical and historical sense. This book took me to a war in Europe during my own lifetime, my teenage years
...more
Emily May
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When your country is at war with another, or perhaps many others, you are aware of the risk to human life. You know soldiers will die, you know that some of these may be people you know or even your loved ones. But, though the civilians at home worry about those who are away fighting for their country, they rarely see themselves as part of the war. The threat to them seems far away, almost unreal. So when the occupying forces marched into the Bosnian village where S. lived, her immediate reactio ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, saddest, war, race
Slavenka Drakulic (born 1949) is a Croatian novelist, sociologist and a journalist who writes mainly on women issues. This is my opening sentence because when I picked up this book, I asked myself: Drakulic, who? and thought that this was a horror book. Hmmm. Drakulic=Dracula. Bosnia=Yugoslavia=Transylvania. Enough, K.D. Stop. Must be the Halloween spirit. This is a serious book.

Very much, indeed. S: A Novel About Balkans a.k.a. As If I Am Not There is about rape, torture, and sexual slavery o
...more
Steve Kettmann
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
My original review (2000) in the San Francisco Chronicle

S. A Novel of the Balkans By Slavenka Drakulic Viking; 216 pages; $22.95
Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic has given the world a gift, digging into the twisted reality of the war that splintered the former Yugoslavia and emerging with ``S.,'' a searing story about a woman held in a Bosnian concentration camp. It is a haunting, difficult novel that is also somehow redemptive.

In the past, Drakulic has demonstrated in essays such as ``Cafe Euro
...more
Tonkica
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jako, jako, jako teska istinita prica. :( Tesko je dati ocjenu, jer osjecas samo tugu, bijes, nepravdu, zlo, strah, bol... Kako za takve osjecaje dati bilo kakvu ocjenu? No, Slavenka je i ovaj put dosla do srzi cijele price, te ju prikazala bas kakva je i bila - teska! Svaka cast svim zenama i muskarcima koji su uspjeli prezivjeti bilo kakav logor. Jos uvijek sam u soku od opisa sto covjek covjeku moze raditi! :(
Ana
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Li esta obra em dois dias e ainda a estou a digerir. Como mulher, creio que ainda dói e fere mais ler relatos hediondos como este, mesmo que os mesmos sejam ficcionais, já que infelizmente a ficção não difere em nada da realidade, do que se passou entre homens, mulheres e crianças que até há pouco tempo eram vizinhos, amigos a até da mesma família. Não consigo, mesmo depois de ter lido tantos e tantos livros sobre este e outros conflitos, conceber como é que um ser humano é capaz de cometer tais ...more
Nataliya
"Perhaps that happens to people in wartime, words suddenly become superfluous because they can no longer express reality. Reality escapes the words we know, and we simply lack new words to encapsulate this new experience."

"Only now does S. understand that a woman's body never really belongs to the woman. It belongs to others—to the man, the children, the family. And in wartime to soldiers."

"Now, however, she sees that for her war began the moment others started dividing and labelling her, when n
...more
Ron Wroblewski
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrible yet realistic book about the way woman are used (misused) during war. It is very sad that things like this happen and the men who treat women like things to be used should be used on the gallows.
verbava
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At that moment in that room she realises that the camp is not just a place where she happens to find herself, it has become the condition of her body and soul.

від "с." іноді фізично нудить, у найпрямішому з сенсів. і для цього є купа причин: бо текст проникливий і реалістичний; бо тема його страшна і занадто актуальна; бо я жінка, і навіть якщо винести війну за дужки, там залишиться занадто багато жахливого, що залазить мені під шкіру.
тому про "с." непросто говорити. тобто так, можна стежити за
...more
Dan
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
this novel concerns the systematized rape and torture of civilian bosnian women during the conflicts in the balkans during the early nineties. it's deeply troubling stuff-- almost a psychosexual counterpart to a day in the life of ivan denisovich. which begs the inevitable question-- why am i reading this? certainly there's an impulse to somehow "bear witness" (however wishy-washy), and drakulic does a great job of emphasizing the necessity that such events be remembered (as well as, ironically, ...more
Ruby Hollyberry
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian
This a great book but a really difficult one to read. It is set during the 1990's Bosnian war and is about the systematic rape and killing of Bosnian Muslim women by Serbian soldiers both in their towns and villages but later in the concentration camps. It is a story told by a woman only identified by the initial S. - the sad truth being that the women will never identify the rapists, for fear that they will be victimised even further after returning to the Muslim community.
Bogdan
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: central-europe
I always thought that war atrocities are something from the distant past, when there was no human rights neither Geneva convention. Usually I imagine them to be part of wars from the Dark Ages, or even more distant, like Antiquity or Stone Age. But I always forget how relatively recent were World Wars (a meager 70 years), or the Bosnian War or even more recently, the War from Eastern Ukraine, about which if I will hear similar atrocities I would not be surprised.

This is just what this novel and
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Erik Graff
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Anna-Kristina Graff
Shelves: literature
This book was given to me as a Christmas present by my niece, Norwegian on her father's, Bosnian Serb on her mother's side. Based on interviews, it is a novelized account of one young Bosnian woman's life from the time of her capture by the Serbs, through her imprisonment to her resettlement as a refugee in Sweden--a period of just about one year. While imprisoned, the protagonist, 'S' in the novel, is, along with other young women and girls, repeatedly and often violently raped, her story begin ...more
Olivia Camp
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: current-lit
"Their murderers need to forget, but their victims must not let them."

What a powerful story. Never have I read something so horrific yet beautiful, with an emotional depth so unimaginable. I found myself constantly shocked as I continuously remembered the truth and nearness of its events. This novel will wreck you and leave you feeling utterly empty of all emotion over what thousands of women went through during the Bosnian war. Never have I ever felt such despair and connection over a story. I
...more
Rob Withers
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Devastating yet compelling. This one is definitely going back on my re-read list.
Elisa Martínez
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Desgarradora y arrebatadora
Shaun
"S.," also know as "As If I Am Not There" -- a harrowing, haunting novel set in Bosnia in the years 1992 and 1993 -- is about the systemic rape and humiliation of a schoolteacher of mixed Serbian and Bosnian heredity. When Serbian forces enter her village, S. spends months in an all female compound of a Serbian concentration camp where she is subjected to continual sexual violence and beatings. The novel culminates with her arrival in Scandinavia as a refugee -- pregnant, homeless, and ambivalen ...more
Kelly
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Postmodern non-linear narratives are hard to read. You never know "when" you are. I love this in movies because visual cues always show me where I am. Non linear narratives mess up the story in compelling ways and show how our past and future often collide in our present. And yet, I always have trouble reading out of time. I miss the cues that are obvious to other readers. S. is a non-linear novel in the beginning and I certainly had trouble keeping in time.

S.reveals the tragedy of war on women
...more
Thurston Hunger
Jul 21, 2009 rated it liked it
A horrifying book, horrifying that is in terms of its topic/setting. The writing is hard to judge, for the simple reason that atrocities get stacked up so rapidly that I had to simply stop reading at times. The words disappear, but their story does not. Actually if anything the writing and the self-assessment of the lead character are as brutally plain, as the treatment of her in Bosnian camp is plainly brutal.

At each chapter, I would look at the time stamp as part of the title and could not hel
...more
J.
I saw the Irish Produced film first, which is how I found out about the novel. The film was very similar, but the novel, of course, was better. The writing is effortless, and one has to read this in one sitting. The events seem absolutely inconceivable, but I suppose that is how all of these kinds of conflicts start. With a sense of disbelief. One of the best first hand account type works I have ever read. Even though it is fiction, it is clear that the author is very familiar with the subject m ...more
Ale Sandoval Tress
Un libro terrible: a travé de entrevistas que hizo a las mujeres que vivieron la guerra de bosnia, la autora escribió después esta novela.
Las protagonistas son mujeres que se vieron envueltas en el conflicto, que fueron secuestradas de su vivienda para ser llevadas a campos donde al principio solo eran prisioneras, pero después, serían el campo de recreo de soldados cada vez más crueles. Sometidas a violaciones y otras vejaciones, aprendieron a "no estar en sí mismas" para sobrevivir.
Algunas que
...more
René
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una guerra en la que según los cálculos "más optimistas" estiman que se violaron unas 40 mil mujeres. Hace unos días Rita Segato hablaba de cómo en los 80 en Guatemala las violaciones, vejaciones y humillaciones a las mujeres se hicieron de manera sistemática, al igual que posteriormente en los Balcanes. El libro de Slavenka Drakulic, una novela biográfica, expone esas formas de la guerra en las que estructuralmente hay que vejar a la mujer, para infligir más humillación al enemigo; la mujer es ...more
Deanne
Most books dealing with war seem to focus on life in the frontline, As if i am not there deals with what was happening to civillians in Bosnia and in particular to the muslims.
The characters are referred to by letters, which makes them seem to stand for more than just any individual. People deal with what is happening to them in different ways, by pretending it's not them, or trying to seem invisible. It's harrowing and difficult to read, but it's also a book which ends with a glimmmer of hope.
Chanell
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Terrifying yet enthralling! Amazingly well written account of war, torture, and rape in the Bosnian war. I remember studying this war in my history class sophomore year. As a sophomore I felt so detacted from the realities and emotional/physical accounts of war. As an American, I am still detacted. But this novel (for a moment) placed me at the forefront. I agree with my friend Alessandra - as a citizen of the world, you must read this book.
Erma Odrach
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
S. is about a Bosnian woman who finds herself in a prison during the Bosnian war of the early 1990's. She is repeatedly raped, dehumanized and starved. Drakulic paints a horrific picture and with great detail. It is a book not just about the suffering of female prisoners but also of how war can turn some men into animals. A very upsetting read, but necessary. Although this is a novel, I felt it would have faired much better in the non-fiction category.
Sylvia
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Creo que esta es una de las novelas más fuertes que he leído en los últimos meses, y miren que he leído cosas duras. Es difícil leer más de dos capítulos de corrido.

S y el resto de las mujeres en esta novela viven las más tormentosas experiencias en este campo, sitiadas por la guerra, por la violencia, por el poder del otro, estas mujeres buscan una sola cosa: sobrevivir y olvidar; pareciera que la muerte es en realidad la única forma de lograr esto.
Julie
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A dark, uncomfortable novel about a Bosnian Muslim woman taken to a camp where she is repeatedly raped by Serb soldiers. She becomes pregnant in the camps and must decide what to do with the child when she finally gives birth as a refugee in Sweden. As upsetting as it is to read, it is an important novel that gives insight into the mentality of people during times of war.
Wendi
Sep 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Truly haunting. The ugly picture of war. Painful to read at times. It was not a comfort remembering this book was fiction, as it came about from numerous interviews of women who lived through the Balkan experience-so somewhere it all could have happened or did happen or even worse.
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Slavenka Drakulić (1949) is a noted Croatian writer and publicist, whose books have been translated into many languages.

In her fiction Drakulić has touched on a variety of topics, such as dealing with illness and fear of death in Holograms of fear; the destructive power of sexual desire in Marble skin; an unconventional relationship in The taste of a man; cruelty of war and rape victims in S. A N
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“She wonders what else she will have to give up and what is the minimum of things with which one can survive without losing the feeling that one is human?” 12 likes
“Žene klimaju glavom, svaka ima nekoliko djece. Jedan dječak ih sluša i kaže: - Kad budem velik, ja ću ubijati Srbe ovako - podiže ruke i cilja kao da puca na nekoga ih velike blizine. Odrasli šute. S. zna da je dječak vidio kako su mu vojnici ubili starijeg brata, baš tako. Toj maloj ruci nedostaje samo oružje, sve je drugo već tu. Svejedno je u koju će zemlju otputovati, ovaj će dječak jednog dana izvršiti svoju namjeru. S. izlazi iz sobe i diše, zrak je oštar poput noža. Jedna je generacija iz te sobe već završila svoj život i svela ga na uspomene. Druga će rasti sa željom da se osveti. Kao da su oni već živi mrtvaci, misli S. Iznenada u ustima osjeća gorčinu.” 2 likes
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