Featured Review: We Are All That's Left (Carrie Arcos)
About This Book:
Two lives. Two worlds apart. One deeply compelling story set in both Bosnia and the United States, spanning decades and generations, about the brutality of war and the trauma of everyday life after war, about hope and the ties that bind us together. Zara and her mother, Nadja, have a strained relationship. Nadja just doesn't understand Zara's creative passion for, and self-expression through, photography. And Zara doesn't know how to reach beyond their differences and connect to a closed-off mother who refuses to speak about her past in Bosnia. But when a bomb explodes as they're shopping in their local farmers' market in Rhode Island, Zara is left with PTSD--and her mother is left in a coma. Without the opportunity to get to know her mother, Zara is left with questions--not just about her mother, but about faith, religion, history, and her own path forward. As Zara tries to sort through her confusion, she meets Joseph, whose grandmother is also in the hospital, and whose exploration of religion and philosophy offer comfort and insight into Zara's own line of thinking. Told in chapters that alternate between Zara's present-day Providence, RI, and Nadja's own childhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian War of the 1990s, We Are All That's Left shows the ways in which, no matter the time and place, struggle and tragedy can give way to connection, healing and love.
*Review Contributed By Karen Klein Staff Reviewer*
Zara feels shut off from her Bosnian born mother. She knows that her mother survived some horrible things in the Bosnian war but Zara wants desperately to understand who her mother is. So when Zara, her mother, and her little brother are victims of a tourist attack, Zara begins to understand what emotional and physical trauma can do to a person and a family.
I really love a good historical fiction. Good historical fiction is entertaining while at the same time teaches us about significant events. I have noticed that much of the historical fiction out there covers the really well-known periods of history. For example: the Tutor period, the American Civil War, WWI, and especially WWII. I really love it when I find a novel that explores world events that are lesser known . When I read the synopsis of, ‘We Are All That’s Left’, I knew this was a book that I had to read.
‘We Are All That’s Left’, alternates between Zara dealing with the aftermath of a present day terror attack and Zara’s mother, Nadja, living in war-torn Bosnia in the past. Going into the story, I did know a little about the Bosnian war. I remember watching the Sarajevo Olympics. I then remember hearing that during the Bosnian war that Sarajevo was ripped apart. I, however, had no idea that such human atrocities had taken place during the war.
‘We Are All That’s Left’ is one of the most amazingly well done books I have ever read. Arcos really brings alive not only the atrocities and ugliness of the Bosnian war but contrasts this with the beauty of the Bosnian countryside. A excellent example of this is her descriptions of the river Drina and its beautiful white stone bridge. Both the majestic river and the bridge host some of the most horrible atrocities of the war.
I really loved both the characters of Zara and Nadja. Even though Nadja is closed off and cold, I found her to be a very relatable character. As her background unfurls within the story, I found myself loving Nadja more and more. In the beginning I found myself being more interested in Zara’s story, as I felt we already knew what would happen with Nadja. As the story moved along more and more surprises from Nadja’s past presented themselves and I became totally wrapped up in her story.
While stories of the holocaust and WWII are vital for us all to learn and understand , we, as a society, really need to take a closer look at many of the lesser known points in history. The world really needs to know that terrible things like genocides are not only events of the past but also events of today. That is why ,’ We Are All That’s Left’, is a book that we all should all be reading.
Must Read. Little known part of history.
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