translated from the original German by Damion Searls
Saša Stanišić’s Where You Come From is a novel about a village where only thirteen people remain, a country that no longer exists, a shattered family that is his own. Blending autofiction, fable, and choose-your-own-adventure, Stanišić traces a family’s escape during the conflict in Yugoslavia, and the years that followed as they built a life in Germany. As he explores what it means to be European today, he examines how it feels to learn a new language, to find new friends and new jobs, and to build an identity between countries and cultures. Translated by Damion Searls, Where You Come From is about homelands, both remembered and imagined. A book that bends form and genre with wit, heart, and exceptional craftsmanship to explore questions that lie inside all of us: about language and shame, about arrival and making it just in time, about luck and death, about what role our origins and memories play in our lives.
About the Author/Translator:
Saša Stanišić was born in Višegrad in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1978, and moved to Germany when he was fourteen. He studied at the Deutsche Literaturinstitut in Leipzig. His first book How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone became an instant bestseller and was translated into more than 30 languages. Stanišić has received numerous stipends and prizes: For the short stories in Trappers he was awarded the Rheingau Literature Prize and the Schubart Literature Prize. For Where You Come From he received the German Book Prize 2019, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize and the Leipzig Book Fair Prize.
Damion Searls is a translator from German, Norwegian, French, and Dutch and a writer in English. He has translated many classic modern writers, including Proust, Rilke, Nietzsche, Walser, Ingeborg Bachmann, Alfred Döblin, Jon Fosse, Elfriede Jelinek, Gide, Christa Wolf, Patrick Modiano, and Nescio, as well as writing criticism and poetry, editing a one-volume abridgment of Henry David Thoreau’s Journal, and producing a lost work of Hermann Melville’s. His own books include What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going (stories), The Inkblots (which has been translated into ten languages), and The Philosophy of Translation (forthcoming).
Nominating Library’s Comments:
Saša Stanišić and his mixed family (Serbian and Bosnian) flee from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and end up in Heidelberg, Germany, where they struggle to integrate, to a large extent because of the low paying jobs available to immigrants. Saša Stanišić tells his personal story in a touching, exciting and stylistic outstanding narrative Style. The novel was successful adapted for the Theater and won the German Book Prize in 2019. – Stadtbücherei Heidelberg, Germany
Third novel from internationally acclaimed and bestselling Bosnian-German author Saša Stanišic. The story follows a young refugee and his family who fled to Germany from Yugoslavia in the 1990s. A heartwarming and moving reflection on the process reshaping ones identity between countries, cultures and languages. – Stadtbibliothek Bremen