Monday 1 April 2024

Book Review: Unspeakable Home by Ismet Prcic (Contemporary Literature)

Unspeakable Home
Ismet Prcic
Avid Reader Press
6 August 2024
eBook - EPUB
Contemporary Literature
ARC via NetGalley

A stunningly original, stylistically brilliant, and brutally honest novel from an award-winning Bosnian refugee and writer who, decades after escaping his war-torn home country looks back on his childhood, imploded relationships, and battles with addiction—offering powerful insight into the human cost of conflict.

It’s been two years since our narrator divorced his beloved and lost his safest and most adoring home when he fled Bosnia as a teenager. The marriage couldn’t survive his brokenness, the trauma so entrenched and insidious that it became impossible to communicate to anyone outside of himself—even the person he loved most. But, as he writes in the first of many courageously candid fan letters to the comedian Bill Burr, he knows he must try.

A linguistically adventurous, structurally ambitious, and emotionally brave odyssey, Unspeakable Home takes us through the memories and confessions of our refugee narrator as he reflects on his bomb-ravaged childhood, the implosion of his relationships, and an agonizing battle with alcoholism. As multiple narrators surface in fragments with increasingly tenuous connections to reality, Prcic unearths the psychological cost of exile and shame with a roving, kinetic energy and a sharp, searching sense of humor. What emerges is a vivid and poignant exploration of the stories we create to hide the deepest parts of our identity from ourselves, as well as a hard-won, life-affirming promise of redemption.


I chose to request Unspeakable Home from NetGalley because I am working on an around-the-world reading challenge and still needed to read something written by an author from Bosnia. This book was a mixed bag for me. There were some really interesting moments and plenty of emotion; however, I often found the prose a little heavy going and my attention would waver at times. Overall, I struggled to connect with the book on a deeper level and occasionally found myself skim-reading. If you are interested in reading multicultural works about peoples’ real-life experience of war and displacement it is worth giving this book a try. However, for me it was a middle-of-the-road, three star read.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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