Review: Goodbye Sarajevo


My sister, Briar, took me to a talk at the University of Auckland about dislocation in an age of connection. During the talk, Associate Professor Jay Marlowe brought up the book Goodbye Sarajevo by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield. He only mentioned it for a split second, and then the discussion continued, but I managed to hunt the book down using the Auckland Libraries app, and requested it. A few days later, the book was waiting for me on the holds shelf. And then I dived in.  

I didn’t do any other research prior to reading this book, and if I had, I would have realised earlier that this book was written by two sisters who were caught up in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which started in early 1992 and ended in late 1995. Hana was sent away from Sarajevo and her family on a bus with one of her sisters. Atka had to stay in Sarajevo and look after her large family. If I'd read the author bios prior to finishing the book, I also would have learnt that they ended up in New Zealand as refugees.

The book must have been so hard for the pair to put together, asking their family to revisit such horrific memories, and having to live the whole war again to communicate their story for us readers. But it's such an important recount for everyone to be aware of. Whether it's because we feel very safe in our New Zealand bubble, or perhaps we don't get the full story about wars and terror attacks all across the world, I don't think we can comprehend the effect these terrible events have on the people around us and across the world. I could have walked past Atka or Hana or any of their family members on the streets of New Zealand and I would have had absolutely no idea what they've been through in their lives. Being able to read their story and realise just how many people are affected by war, unrest, fighting, upheaval, and displacement throughout the world is so eye-opening and upsetting.

If you pick up one book this year, I whole-heartedly recommend that you pick up Goodbye Sarajevo. It's a story we don't want to believe is true, but we all need to know about. 


Note: By purchasing your copy of Goodbye Sarajevo via the link above, Yarns will get a commission. Please note that I only review books I have truly enjoyed and am happy to recommend.