bookspacePhoto of readermy comments
 home > bookspace > my comments > comment: pretty birds : a novel /
Subscribe via RSS 
Pretty birds : a novel
Scott Simon
Adult Fiction SIMON

Comments  Summary  Excerpt  Reviews

From Publishers' Weekly:

Young women served as snipers for both Bosnian and Serbian forces during the siege of Sarajevo; Simon, a prize-winning correspondent and NPR Weekend Edition host, interviewed one of them and has masterfully imagined her life. The book begins with half-Muslim Irena, 17, perched on a rooftop, wearing a black ski mask, sighting down a rifle and listening to a sneering Serbian propagandist on the radio ("The Yanks send you food Americans wouldn't give to their dogs") before she pulls the trigger. Simon then flashes back to the spring of 1992, when Irena, her parents and her parrot, Pretty Bird, must flee their home on the mostly Serb side of the city. When they make it (barely) to her grandmother's apartment, they find her slain on the staircase. Simon's account of the family's refugee life-sans water, electricity and supplies, they eat snail-and-grass soup-is full of brilliant details ranging from the comic to the heartbreaking. When a former assistant principal spots Irena, once a high school basketball star, he offers her a job that quickly has her recruited, indoctrinated and trained in deception and weaponry. That's when the action really begins to move along. Pretty Bird is released for mercy's sake, flies to his old home and is caught by Amela-a Christian and Irena's former classmate and teammate-who concocts a devious and difficult plan to return him to her friend. A deeply felt, boldly told story and clean, forceful prose distinguish this striking first novel. Agent, Jonathan Lazear. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Ever wonder what it's like to be a sniper? How about a teenage female sniper during the Yugoslav war of 1991-95? Through 17-year-old Irena Zaric-by no means a traditional Muslim, as she relishes celebrity magazines, drinks alcohol, swears, and smokes-first novelist Simon offers readers a window into that world. The skillfully crafted ebb and flow brings basketball star Irena to life as she courageously defends her family and friends in appalling circumstances. The author, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, has worked as a war correspondent in Sarajevo, and it shows in the authentic, gritty details. The agony of conflicting loyalties especially comes through in this outstanding debut, which includes cameos by Osama bin Laden, Kenneth Branagh, and Radovan Karadzic. Dedicated to the people of Sarajevo ("those who fell in her defense, and defended her ideals"), Pretty Birds is far better than Jonathan Rabb's conspiracy thriller The Book of Q and Natasha Radojcic-Kane's more partisan and unrelentingly grim Homecoming. For a Croatian perspective, see Slavenka Drakulic's S.: A Novel About the Balkans. Highly recommended for all adult fiction collections.-Mark Andr? Singer, Mechanics' Inst. Lib., San Francisco (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Question about returns, requests or other account details?
 Add a Comment
Submission Guidelines

Find this title in the Library Catalog
Find this title in the Library Catalog

more titles about

main characters Irena
Age: 17
Flees her home with her parents; discovers her grandmother had been slain; lived as refugees with no electricity or supplies; the former assistant principal of her school trains her in deception and weaponry to be a sniper.

recent comments
hcl mobile app
Facebook Twitter Tumblr YouTube Vimeo Flickr Federal Depository Library Federal
Hennepin County Government Hennepin
© 2014  Hennepin County Library12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305 Comments and Feedback    |    RSS