Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars

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Rowman & Littlefield, Oct 23, 2001 - History - 416 pages
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Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars is a chronicle of poet and critic Christopher Merrill's ten war-time journeys to the Balkans from the years 1992 through 1996. At once a travelogue, a book of war reportage, and a biography of the imagination under siege, this beautifully written and personal narrative takes the reader along on the author's journeys to all the provinces and republics of the former Yugoslavia--Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and Vojvodina--as well as to Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Turkey. His journeys provide the narrative structure for an exploration of the roles and responsibility of intellectuals caught up in a decisive historical moment, many of whom either helped to incite the war or else bore eloquent witness to its carnage. What separates this book-the first non-native literary work on the conflict-from other collections of reportage, political analysis, and polemic, is its concern for capturing the texture of particular places in the midst of dramatic change-the sounds and sights and smells, the stories and observations of victim and perpetrator alike, the culture of war. Here is a literary meditation on war, a fascinating portrait of the poetry, politics and the people of the Balkans that will provide insight into the past, present, and future of those war-torn lands. Hear an interview with the author on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered, February 20th, 'Balkan Poets.'
 

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Only the nails remain: scenes from the Balkan wars

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Merrill, a poet and journalist, spent much of the past decade traveling through the Balkans; here, in a powerful and enigmatic account, he chronicles those travels. Taking the title for his book from ... Read full review

Contents

V
1
VI
15
VII
27
VIII
47
IX
57
X
75
XI
89
XII
103
XIX
257
XX
271
XXI
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XXII
301
XXIII
327
XXIV
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XXV
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XXVI
363

XIII
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XIV
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XV
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XVI
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XVII
223
XVIII
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XXVII
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XXVIII
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XXIX
385
XXX
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Page xv - Very very gently, very very slowly, so it will last longer. 1 will draw up a precise plan. I will upholster myself every day say two square inches for instance. Then I will set fire to everything. It will burn for a long time, it will burn for seven days. Only the nails will remain, all welded together and rusty. So I will remain. So 1 will survive everything.

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About the author (2001)

Christopher Merrill is a poet and critic and is the author or translator of more than a dozen books, including the highly praised The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee. He reviews regularly for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. His writings have appeared in such publications as Sierra, Sports Illustrated, The Nation, DoubleTake, Orion, and The Paris Review. He holds the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross and lives in Connecticut.

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