You are here

CBC's All in a Day Book Panel

All in a day banner with logo

Vendredi 7 mai 2021

On Monday, May 3rd, CBC's All in a Day Book Panel, featuring OPL's Ann Archer and Sean Wilson of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, recommended some recent favourites. You can find their picks at OPL on the lists below, and listen to their discussion at the following link All in a Day Book Panel May

CBC All in a Day Book Panel - May 2021
par Collection_Development

Book recommendations from OPL's Ann Archer and Sean Wilson of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, presented monthly on CBC's All in a Day with Alan Neal.


Time for a novel about the EU and the death of Yugoslavia

After listening to Ann Archer speak about the novel “Speak, Silence” I read a Globe interview with the author Kim Echlin. She is returning to a theme that has been covered in a lot of detail in the past in non-fiction and fiction, and it is really hard to see what she has to add. Chuck Sudetić, an American journalist who speaks Serbo-Croatian fluently, may have done it best in “Blood and Vengeance: One Family’s Story of the War in Bosnia”, a non-fiction account of one Muslim family’s experience of the war. Echlin doesn’t speak the language. She was conscientious enough to make a trip to Foča, but in her interview at least doesn’t provide much context. In 1991, close to two fifths of the people in that Bosnian town was Muslim. Today it is almost entirely Serb, and the town is part of Republika Srpska, the Serb entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. So although the ICTY decried rapes of Moslem women and other atrocities committed by Serbs to ethnically cleanse the town, the results of that ethnical cleansing were allowed to stand. This has been the case pretty much everywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I met my Serbian wife through her cousin’s family who were forced to flee Mostar. Before the war it had a considerable Serb population and now they have virtually all gone. Echlin probably means well, but I am not sure what good another book that opens old wounds about the Bosnian war will do, particularly one that seems to deal only or mainly with Bosnian Serb war crimes when such crimes were also committed by Moslems and Croats. Susan Woodward’s book, “Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution after the Cold War”, which regrettably is not part of the OPL collection, shows just how dysfunctional the EU’s actions were during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Croats, Montenegrins, Moslems (or Bosniaks) and Serbs all speak the same language. Everything should have been done to try to keep at least the core four Yugoslav republics together in a continuing Yugoslav federation, possibly with redrawn borders. All four of them together don’t have the same GDP as Greece, whether one includes or excludes Kosovo. It is madness that they have now become four separate states. Rather than insisting on a peaceful negotiation of differences, the EU simply allowed war and ethnic cleansing to determine the successor states to Yugoslavia and their ethnic makeup. I won’t be reading Echlin’s book, which just seems to be re-opening old wounds. Maybe it is time for a fictional recreation of the EU diplomacy at the time of the EU breakup instead. It would serve as a useful cautionary tale, now that the EU once again seems to be creating mischief, reigniting sectarian conflict in Ireland.