Black Lawrence Press

Basements and Other Museums

Husic_cw

Winner of the 2016 St. Lawrence Book Award

Excerpt from “Translated from the Bosnian”

I met your mother in Makarska, though neither of us was staying there. A friend and I had rented a room north of Makarska, in a smaller and cheaper resort; your mother and her friends farther south along the coast. I cannot describe to you, my son, the first time I saw her for when I looked at her for what I thought was the first time, in a café, dipping a sugar cube into her coffee, I realized that I had seen her before, that I had passed her on the promenade, had noticed her on the beach. In the café she was sitting off to the side, by herself, yet somehow the center of everyone’s attention. This I noticed repeatedly, her proud and unapproachable solitude. She was lonely but unconcerned. She was quiet, which was intimidating because it was rare. She was tall and held her body straight. There was something of the aristocratic Russian about her, the long dark hair, her pale face, my imagination. From one of her friends I learned that she was involved with a tourist, an American. I imagined a rich older American with a summer house in the Adriatic, but it was only a young backpacker, rugged of build, blond of hair, from Montana. She called him Montana, never telling me his real name when she spoke of him. I never asked. She said she liked foreign men because she could change the meaning of her name with each new man, because foreign phrases of affection were easier not to mean.

Praise

  • With the precision of a surgeon and a poet’s reverberant intelligence, Vedran Husic gives us stories of children growing up in war-ravaged Bosnia, a world of vanishing fathers, games invented around an alley sniper’s bullets and the bittersweet aspirations of adolescent Bosnian immigrants and refugees in America. In taut yet voluptuous prose, with philosophic ferocity, Basements and Other Museums marks the debut of a crucial new voice in contemporary fiction.

    —Melissa Pritchard
  • In an age of conformity, this is a writer who boldly stands apart. Language is unfixed. Time is stretched like taffy. The sniper's finger drifts to the trigger as the tale is told. When history, society, and culture conspire toward collapse, all we have left is language—Vedran Husić knows this. He is the natural heir to Bruno Schulz, Danilo Kiš, Gombrovicz: stylists and story-tellers battered by war.

    —Matthew Neill Null

Vedran Husić

Vedran Husić was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and raised in Germany and the United States. He has work published in The Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, Mississippi Review, Witness, Ecotone, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Husić Author page

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