my challenges

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo

The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo, by Paula Huntley.

This was a very interesting book to read, but by no means an easy book to read.  The images of the life faced by the Kosovars is heartbreaking.  But to begin at the beginning, let me tell you what this book is about.  It is the story of a year in the life of an English as a Second Language teacher who travelled to Kosovo with her husband just after the end of hostilities in Kosovo.  While he worked on an international law project, she taught English at a local school housed in the remains of an athletic complex.

It was easy to let Huntley's students and their families capture your heart, and what I found most heartbreaking of all was not the horrible stories that each of them had of surviving the genocide of the previous few years, but the utter lack of any prospect of things getting any better.  These people literally had virtually no future beyond the bare bones living they were surviving on at the time, no hope of good jobs, no hope of lasting peace, no hope of justice winning out, and all of the outside aide and assistance pouring into the country appears to have had little or no effect, despite the best efforts of hundreds and maybe thousands of people from all over the world.  Instead, everyone seemed to be looking to get out of the country as the only way of supporting their family, while violence, sectarianism, and poverty continued to eat away at the remaining shreds of society in the country.  I was left largely with a sense of hopelessness for the future of this tiny, embattled, and impoverished country.  Not an easy book to read, but recommended to those interested in the Baltics. 4.0 

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