Without realising it, this was the book I had been waiting for. Goodbye Sarajevo, , by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield is without doubt, my favourite read of the year so far. And I think it will be hard pressed to beat!
It arrived into my house care of my father. My parents had come to visit, bringing with them sweets and treats from home - pineapple lumps, gingernuts, and my father's very own honey. I'd told them not to bring any books. They were welcome to help themselves to my own library here, but of course they still needed a read for the plane, which is how Goodbye Sarajevo made it to Vancouver Island.
In the first few days that they were here, Mum & Dad snoozed, read, brunched and very quickly adapted to the relaxed island lifestyle. Needless to say, it didn't take long for Dad to finish the final few chapters of this book. When I looked up to see him with tears in his eyes as he made his way to the end, I knew this was going to be a must read.
Goodbye Sarajevo is written by two sisters, caught up in the Bosnian War of the 1990s. There's a substantial age difference between the two, so needless to say their experience and memories of this crisis is very different. One remains in Bosnia, looking after the family, dodging snipers as she runs to stock up on water for the household, and burning her old jeans to light the fire to keep warm. The younger one is chosen to leave Bosnia and despite the war is able to continue with her schooling, all the while trying to stay in communication with her beloved older sister.
It's described as a "true story of courage, love and survival" and indeed it was. It's a story that will quite literally, move you to tears.