Fiction By Bosnian Writer Melina Kamerić Published In Ukrainian

Fiction By Bosnian Writer Melina Kamerić Published In Ukrainian
27/08/2013
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Bosnian literature is but a little known for Ukrainian readers. Generally speaking, knowledge of Bosnia as a whole is about the same level, as ordinary Ukrainians know almost nothing about it - not to mention the war of course after Yugoslavia collapsed. For that reason it’s cheering up to state the fact that a short fiction collection by a modern Bosnian writer Melina Kamerić has been translated to Ukrainian.

A Ukrainian translation of the short fiction collection “Shoes for Oscar Night” was published in 2012 by Folio Publishers Ltd (Kharkiv). This is a special event for Ukrainian Muslims, as Bosnians are both Slavic and Muslim nation.


The book profile reads: “Melina Kamerić was born in 1972 in Sarajevo, where she graduated World Literature in 1993. During the war, she assisted to a surgeon at a military hospital. Eventually she was involved with various humanitarian organizations and foreign Media, such as “Doctors Without Borders”, City Link Amsterdam Sarajevo, British Council. Now she writes columns and articles for several Bosnian magazines, namely “Azrah” women's magazine; she’s also a representative of Al Jazeera Balkans. She writes her stories mostly at night.


A Ukrainian translation of the short fiction collection “Shoes for Oscar Night” was published in 2012 by Folio Publishers Ltd (Kharkiv). This is a special event for Ukrainian Muslims, as Bosnians are both Slavic and Muslim nation.


The book profile reads: “Melina Kamerić was born in 1972 in Sarajevo, where she graduated World Literature in 1993. During the war, she assisted to a surgeon at a military hospital. Eventually she was involved with various humanitarian organizations and foreign Media, such as “Doctors Without Borders”, City Link Amsterdam Sarajevo, British Council. Now she writes columns and articles for several Bosnian magazines, namely “Azrah” women's magazine; she’s also a representative of Al Jazeera Balkans. She writes her stories mostly at night.


O’Henry wrote once, that no man has tasted the full flavour of life until he has known poverty, love and war. All three components are present in plenty in the “Shoes for Oscar Night”, so the book can be named a kind of “express-course” to experience life. The book is very ethnic and feminine, but at the same time strong enough for the large world. THere’s a lot of search for identity in the book and even much more love. It’s like breathing. This is the kind of book you’ll never be the same againg after you’ve read it.


You can purchase the book in Kyiv at one of the of the bookshops of the “E” retail chain. Translated from Bosnian by Kateryna Kalytko.


We offer our readers one of the best stories by Bosnian writer Melina Kamerić to get a general idea of her novelism.


Solitude and Something Else
I have money, but the money means nothing. No visa. I can’t leave the airport for that reason. Can’t go to Vienna by express train. And here I am, drinking Vienna coffee and eating the “Zaher” cake. I’ll be grounded at the Airport, terminal C, for another seven hours.


How many perfumes can one look over in the duty-free zone during those seven hours? How many gifts can one buy?


“Mozart” candies, another perfume selection. Coffee. Reading yesterday’s newspapers. It’s so lousy to be alone. At the airport. It’s lousy to be alone anywhere, though.


I’m looking upon people. Having another coffee. I want to pee because of the coffee. Heading for the ladies room for the third time already. And it’s just an hour since I’ve arrived here.


Airports are fortune catalogues. I’m looking upon people. Imagining their stories. Who flies where. And for what purpose. And to whom. Why? Because that makes things easier for me.


Heading for the loo for the fourth time. There’s a girl standing near the mirror. I’m feeling a great urge to ask how she’s doing, and I don’t know why. She’s standing there with her suitcase, and I know she’s been standing there for an hour already. I know that because I’m looking upon people. I saw her every time I entered the ladies’ room.


I’m washing my hands near her. And her quiet and unostentatious, in her bad English - “You beutiful...”


I look her in the face and think - “Oh my God… she’s crying”.


- Where are you flying to? - I ask her.


- I don’t know… - she says, tears running down her face, and her headscarf tied under her chin absorbs them.


- Are you alone? - the silliest question ever. Everyone is alone in this world.


- Yes.. He left and told me to wait for him here… Here, in the toilet…


Afraid to hear the answer I ask, however:


- When did he leave you?


- Two days ago…


I feel my stomach scringe.


- Are you hungry?


She nods her head. I’m leading her by the hand - from the toilet. Her name is Fatimah. Fatimah’s stomach aches. Fatimah’s crying. Fatimah’s from Somalia. And I… I would scream if I were her.


She takes analgesic, sobbing quietly. Tears run down her cheeks. She doesn’t know if she has her passport. Maybe her passport is with him. And he left. And ordered her to wait for him. In the loo. She reaches for her birth certificate in her pocket. Bent and dented. She’s 21. And she she says - “He’ll be back in shaa Allah!”


Her large tearful eyes grow even larger when she sees the security. She grabs my hand and waits for them to pass. She’s scared. She’s afraid of what happens if they arrest her. She asks if there’s a refugee centre in Bosnia. Asks, whether Bosnia is in the USA. She cries. And says - “He comes, in shaa Allah!”


She refused to approach the police with me. She’s afraid - what she’s gonna tell him if he comes back for her after all? I ask her - “Where he was taking you to?” She doesn’t know. She shrugged her shoulders. Says: “I have no parents. They were killed. I have a brother, but I don’t know if he’s alive by now”.


And she cries again. Quietly.


I’m forgetting everything. Don’t feel the time flies. And they announce: “Last invitation for passenger Kamerić!”


I leave Fatimah in the toilet. I give her my phone number. Hug her. Fatimah is crying. Now I have to leave her. I hug her tight. And feel the absolute emptiness inside.


She gave me a call in ten days. Finally someone from the Vienna Airport security staff noticed a beautiful young girl who’s been crying in the loo for five days already. Fatimah doesn’t cry anymore.


She said they offered her refuge. And that I am a good friend of hers. And I say, “Take care, Fatimah, and may Allah protect you. And give me a call from time to time”.


And then, slowly, I’m starting to realise what loneliness means.


Sitting alone at the Vienna Airport and thinking if there’s someone there to meet you when you land at home is not solitude.


Solitude is when you dial the only number you’ve got from the phone at the Refugee Detention Centre.



by Yuriy Kosenko

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