Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Hotel Tito

Finished January 10
The Hotel Tito by Ivana Bodrožić, translated by Ellen Elias-Bursać

This novel closely follows the author's real life experiences. It follows an unnamed young girl for several years, beginning in 1991 when she is 9 years old and is sent from her home town of Vukovar to the seaside with her older brother. Their mother later joins them there. She doesn't really understand what's going on at first, but gradually realizes that her father has gone missing defending the town. As the two children and their mother go to Zagreb to wait for word of her father, they are housed in a former political school along with many other war refugees. Some have fathers who break through and arrive in Zagreb. Some learn that their fathers have died. But many are in the limbo that faces her family. Her mother and her brother fight for housing, for recognition, and the girl gets older, becomes a bit of a rebel, engaging in riskier behaviour along with other kids her age. The book takes us to her high school years, where she is forced to live in a boarding house as their is no high school near where the political school is located.
This is about how the war affected her, but we see the effect on the society around her as well. The feelings of those Croatians not directly affected by the events of Vukovar.
Interestingly, I visited Vukovar myself in 2010, after the town had begun to be resettled. It was still showing the signs of the war at that time.

The picture about is just one scene showing nature taking over the damaged buildings of the town.
There were many signs of death and of life coming back.

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