By Luisa Lang Owen
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Additional info for Casualty of War: A Childhood Remembered (Eastern European Studies, 18)
This is where the bombed-out church used to be,” I tell them (we are talking in hushed tones). Lisel, still not convinced we are in the right place, looks at me disbelieving. “Those trees are tall; they had to have been here forty years ago. Are you sure this is the right place? ” What does she know about us, I think unkindly. Facilities? Consider the economy of simply letting people starve to death, I want to tell her, but I only fuel my anger with her words. A wagon loaded with hay moves into the periphery of my vision.
It took a very long time and required a great deal of vigilance, but in the end the plums themselves altogether disappeared. This transformation, the change into a clear colorless liquid, was magical and produced the most remarkable fragrance, better smelling than any of my mother’s perfumes, which she kept in closed little bottles in her bedroom. My grandfather called this brew Schnaps or s =ljivovica, interchangeably. I liked its second name. It seemed more loyal to the plum. Because I liked its fragrance so much, I could detect its presence anywhere in the house.
As one among the thousands discarded there, left to die, I cannot deny the deed, and I will not be an accomplice to the lie. To come here is to keep doing 12 c a s u a l t y o f wa r away with myself, to play into the lie. “Only the lie has to be done away with—not the liars,” I hear myself saying out loud, and the winds over Bosnia rush to shroud my words. ” We stop at a rest stop and before we even get out of the car, three boys, aged perhaps ten or eleven, converge on us, throwing themselves on the hood, peering through the windshield, their brash voices insistent; they want to wash our car for Deutschmarks.
Casualty of War: A Childhood Remembered (Eastern European Studies, 18) by Luisa Lang Owen