Madness Visible: A Memoir of War by Janine di Giovanni - review by Adam LeBor

Adam LeBor

The Dark Side

Madness Visible: A Memoir of War


Bloomsbury 286pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The grim scene at the refugee centre in the Ottoman town of Travnik was mirrored all over Bosnia that winter of 1993. Behind the thick ochre walls of the schoolhouse dozens of cold, hungry and traumatised Bosnian Muslims eked out a meagre existence on UN handouts, trying their hardest to preserve their dignity and the vestiges of family life. It was so cold that the lines of laundry strung between the walls outside had frozen solid.

Most of the refugees were women, and their stories of how the Serbs turned on them, killed their menfolk and expelled them from their homes were gruesomely familiar. I remember most a young woman called Amla Naderovic, then a seventeen-year-old with the remnants of puppy fat, and short dark hair.

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