Reviewed by Samantha Hui
Complex, multidimensional, important.
Elections often fall short when they are informed by chance.
Narmina’s prospect Is a horrible look at how quickly freedom can be taken. This novel tells the story of a survivor who escaped war, and explores a plethora of issues including choice, forgiveness and guilt.
Although the Bosnian war is what drives this story, it is not its main plot line; It is first and foremost about Narmina complementing with the choices she had to make as well as with those she made herself.
The Bosnian war is in full swing in 1992. Nermina Mirsad’s brother died after his workplace was bombed; Nermina’s mother was beaten to death by Serbian soldiers; And Normina herself suffered cruelty and was destroyed by soldiers. Despite her suffering, Nermina still wants to stay here with her father.
But her father has other plans for her, saying, “You’re not the one who chooses,” In order to protect Nermina. Following his detailed plan for her, Nermina finds refuge in America and sets herself to give birth to an American child.
“Above all, she hurts about the girls they once shared. She now knows for sure that these kids are gone.”
Greenberg’s meticulous writing details how choices depend on the circumstances in which we find ourselves. And Nermina’s choices are always dictated by chance. For example, when Nermina can not have a child through artificial insemination due to lack of money, she chooses to give birth to a child with a relative stranger, Karl.
As Nermina’s daughter (Attica) grows older and shows resentment towards Nermina for not giving her a father, Nermina must make a difficult choice: either reveal that Karl is her father or continue the lie that Nermina conceived Attica through artificial insemination.
“Sometimes a lie can be much better than the truth.”
Greenberg took a fresh and nuanced approach to discussing chance and choice. Throughout the novel, Nermina encounters moments when she has to choose between two things, but they are hardly black and white. There are endless reasons why Nermina has gotten to the point she has, and all of these reasons and experiences are the decision she is about to make.
Although she wanted to give Attica the life she was not allowed to continue living, Nermina instead strangled Attica and often placed too much parental responsibility on her. In the same way that Nermina’s father did not allow Nermina to choose to stay in Bosnia, Nermina robs Attica of her choice to get to know her father. The book does not attribute morality to this situation, but presents Nermina as someone who does what she can with the choices given to her.
“It will be much easier to see the problems in black and white, as these men did.”
This book flows smoothly from chapter to chapter, not wasting a word. Her characters are rounded and complex, never implying that they are either a hero or a villain, but rather people facing difficult choices.
Nermina’s prospect He is cordial, human and unconventional. Although the book is quite heavy, it is good to read it over and over again.
Publisher: Atmospheric press
genre: Literary / historical / war
Print length: 426 pages
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