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Publisher's Summary

Celebrated NPR personality and acclaimed author Scott Simon is an Emmy and Peabody Award winner. This astonishing novel is based on his experiences covering the siege of Sarajevo.

Teenaged Irena and her parents are forced into hiding when Bosnian Serbs launch their war of ethnic cleansing against Muslims. But Tedic, a strong-willed Muslim man, convinces Irena to become a sniper and take up the defense of her home and people.

A deadly chess game, Irena's story plays out against the backdrop of a city brutalized by war. Based entirely on true events, Pretty Birds is a powerful and striking tale.

©2005 Scott Simon; (P)2005 Recorded Books

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  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 06-12-17

In amongst the Shells...

This is not a happy book. In many ways, it's brutal and tragic and angry. Scott Simon has written about a time, a place, a people, primarily through the eyes of Irena.
Irena is a 17-year-old high school basketball star at the start of the war. Seemingly overnight, everything changes for her and her family. Friends, relatives and strangers get killed just for standing in line for water, people live in shot-out buildings, simply existing ias an act of defiance against those who want a greater Serbia and their Muslim neighbors dead.
I first read this book in my early 20s, and I didn't like Irena much. Now that I'm older, I understand her motivation, how idealism and hope can morph into radical defiance.
Scott Simon is a terrific writer, Christina moore is a great narrator. Pick up this book if you're at all interested in this time and place, and one young girl's coming of age in the middle of it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful