By Scott Simon
The universally revered NPR journalist and bestselling memoirist Scott Simon makes a stunning fiction debut. In beautiful Birds, Simon creates an extreme, startling, and tragicomic portrait of a vintage character–a younger lady within the besieged urban of Sarajevo within the early 1990s.
In the spring of 1992, Irena Zaric is a celeb on her Sarajevo highschool basketball crew, a difficult, humorous teen who has taught her parrot, lovely chicken, to do an honest imitation of a ball hitting a ring. Irena wears her hair brief like ok. d. lang’s, and she or he loves Madonna, Michael Jordan, and Johnny Depp. yet whereas Irena rocks out and shoots baskets along with her neighbors, her cherished urban has develop into a battleground. while the violence and terror of “ethnic cleansing” opposed to Muslims starts off, Irena and her kinfolk, brutalized by means of Serb infantrymen, flee for protection around the river that divides the city.
If as soon as Irena knew of struggle in simple terms from videos and background books, now she is familiar with its fact. She steals from the lifeless to shop for nutrition. She scuttles less than home windows in her own residence to stay clear of bullets. She dangers her existence to speak with an outdated Serb institution good friend and teammate. Even lovely poultry has began to mimic the sizzle of mortar fire.
In a urban starved for paintings, a former assistant primary bargains Irena a obscure task, “duties as assigned,” which she accepts. She starts off by way of sweeping flooring, yet quickly, lower than the tutelage of a solid of rogues and heroes, she learns to be a sniper, biding her time, by no means returning to a similar perch, and looking out her objectives for the “mist” that marks a profitable shot. finally, Irena’s new vocation will bring about advanced and cataclysmic effects for herself and people she loves.
As a journalist, Scott Simon coated the siege of Sarajevo. the following, in a unique as suspenseful as a John le Carré mystery, he re-creates the ambience of that position and time and the discomfort and darkish humor of its humans. lovely Birds is a daring departure, and the auspicious starting of one more great occupation for its writer.