Bait Paperback – Jun 20 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
David Albahari's Bait (trans. from the Serbian by Peter Agnone) opens with the narrator's attempts to tape-record his mother's voice, her life story. We learn that she has since died and the young man is a Serbian exile living in Canada, listening to the tapes and trying to make sense of the events that have shaped his life. The book is essentially an extended meditation on history (both grand and intimate), family and loss. Alas, the pace is sluggish and the tone relentlessly somber; that the book is arranged in a continuous block of text without paragraphs doesn't help.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Written in one very long paragraph, Albahari's novel-memoir recalls his life in the former Yugoslavia, the death of his mother, and his exile to Canada. His mother, who converted to Judaism just before World War II despite the threat of Hitler, lived through two marriages and the war. The narrator's remembering sparks fascinating meditation on the meaning of exile and the way that some national borders can never be crossed. The book's single paragraph encourages reading it in one sitting, and although there is no plot as such, the narrator's memories of war-torn Yugoslavia, coupled with his mother's stories, provide ample action. Even translated from his native Serbian, Albahari's prose has the contemplative, textured quality of such Eastern European writers as Kundera. The narrator tells his reader, again and again, that were he a writer, like his Canadian friend, he could bring a better eye for metaphorical significance to the story. But Albahari's artful meditations on the meaning of otherness will convince many that he is indeed a writer. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.