Little Bastards in Springtime
Written by Katja Rudolph
Fiction - Coming Of Age
Trade Paperback, ISBN 978-1-58642-233-2 (1-58642-233-2), 416 pages
$16.00 (CANADIAN $0.00)
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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHYKatja Rudolph was born in Sussex, England, and moved to Canada with her family when she was seven. She holds an MPhil in social and political sciences from King's College, Cambridge, and a PhD in theory and policy studies from the University of Toronto. She lives with her partner and two children near Toronto. Little Bastards in Springtime is her first novel.
ABOUT THIS BOOKSpring, 1992. Jevrem Andric is eleven years old and war is erupting in Sarajevo. As the shelling worsens, Jevrem's journalist father and teenaged brother join the Bosnian army. Jevrem, his sisters, his concert pianist mother and beloved grandmother move into the basement.
Spring, 1997. Refugee life in Toronto is bleak, and 16-year-old Jevrem and his gang of Yugoslav friends are on a rampage: drinking, smoking weed, popping pills, breaking into houses. Survival means relying on your cunning in an indifferent world. Besides, they relish the adrenaline rush; it reminds them of home.
Spring, 1998. After a year in remand, Jevrem has another three in juvenile detention ahead of him, once again trapped in cramped spaces. The only way to save his soul is to escape, and so he does. He hitches rides and as he makes his way west across America toward Los Angeles and his estranged uncle, he feels that it's a chance to leave the repeating patterns of the past behind.
PRAISE"Rudolph uses remarkable historical research to craft a deeply affecting psychological portrayal of the cost of war upon one boy, his family and the society they are later thrown into. . . Rudolph deeply inhabits Jevrem, a highly intelligent teen with PTSD, modulating the prose subtly as the boy ages, showing great restraint as a stylist in order to let the effects of war drive each scene. . . A first-rate novel about the horrors of nationalism, as moving as it is instructive in its historical import." -- Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"In this absorbing debut novel that begins in 1992, 11-year-old Sarajevan Jevrem Andric lives through the destruction of both his childhood and his country . . . The family's belief that peace will prevail is destroyed as Sarajevo is besieged . . . The surviving family members settle as refugees in Toronto where Jevrem spends his time committing acts of theft and violence with his "bastard" gang of fellow refugees . . . Rudolph's writing is spare and touched by moments of incandescent lyricism. Jevrem's voice is convincing, jumping from cynicism to thoughtfulness. Rudolph skillfully conveys the pain of a wounded young man whose present is constantly assaulted by his past. The possibility of an untroubled future fuels the narrative, and the reader is compelled to witness Jevrem's journey at every point." -- Publishers Weekly
"Lyrical passages, a solid plot framework, and historical accuracy." — World Literature Today
"Little Bastards is wholly absorbing, terrifically exciting, thoughtful, informative, and clarifying. I would add that it is also immediate and propulsive. The characters are individual and dear, made so by Rudolph's penetrating eye and fearless ear. It has been a pleasure to review this book, and it is a pleasure to think that others will—should, must, want to—read it." — Women's Review of Books, Wellesley Centers for Women