Shards by Ismet Prcic
A Novel

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Synopsis

Ismet Prcic’s brilliant, provocative, and propulsory energetic debut is about a young Bosnian, also named Ismet Prcic, who has fled his war-torn homeland and is now struggling to reconcile his past with his present life in California.

He is advised that in order to make peace with the corrosive guilt he harbors over leaving behind his family behind, he must “write everything.” The result is a great rattlebag of memories, confessions, and fictions: sweetly humorous recollections of Ismet’s childhood in Tuzla appear alongside anguished letters to his mother about the challenges of life in this new world. As Ismet’s foothold in the present falls away, his writings are further complicated by stories from the point of view of another young man—real or imagined—named Mustafa, who joined a troop of elite soldiers and stayed in Bosnia to fight. When Mustafa’s story begins to overshadow Ismet’s new-world identity, the reader is charged with piecing together the fragments of a life that has become eerily unrecognizable, even to the one living it.

Shards is a thrilling read—a harrowing war story, a stunningly inventive coming of age, and a heartbreaking saga of a splintered family.
 

About Ismet Prcic

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Published October 4, 2011 by Grove Press, Black Cat. 392 pages
Genres: War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Shards

Kirkus Reviews

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His central character, also named Ismet Prcic, is observed in two timelines, growing up in Tuzla and as a refugee in the U.S. Diary accounts and notebook passages are interspersed with the story of another character, Mustafa.

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

The New York Times

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The Bosnian hero of Ismet Prcic’s first novel is shattered by war.

Oct 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

The New York Times

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“Shards,” the impressive first novel by Ismet Prcic, finds inventive ways to interrogate the anguish of enduring and then escaping Bosnia during the war of the 1990s.

Oct 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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With this frenetic debut novel set during the Bosnian war, Prcic proves that it’s impossible to outrun your past.

Aug 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Oregon Live

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Aug 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Oregon Live

Portland writer Ismet Prcic's debut novel, "Shards," twists two stories of the Bosnian war into one.

Oct 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

When Mustafa’s story begins to overshadow Ismet’s new-world identity, the reader is charged with piecing together the fragments of a life that has become eerily unrecognizable, even to the one living it.

Shards is a thrilling read—a harrowing war story, a stunningly inventive coming...

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Shelf Awareness

"There's nothing that lifts the spirits of this author like a good local, independent bookshop.

Oct 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Time Out Chicago

When an author has a background like Ismet Prcic’s—the debut novelist fled Bosnia just before being conscripted into the army and forced to fight in the Bosnian War—it behooves the critic to do a little research before reading the book, if for no other reason than to place the author in a proper ...

Nov 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Arts Fuse

In his debut novel Shards, Ismet Prcic (pronounced Persick) has written a novel that is as experimental and brutal and heart-wrenching as anything that has come out of any war.

Nov 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Shards: A Novel

Reader Rating for Shards
89%

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