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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 94 | volume XVII | January-February, 2014



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 94January-February, 2014

The Book of Una

– an excerpt from the novel –

p. 1
Faruk Šehić

Night Voyage

Our mother used to say, if it rains on Friday that means it will rain for the next seven days. And the heavy rain covered our sky with the power of the ayet of the sura Al-Qari’a / End of the World.

When the water surrounded us from all sides, Mother’s house embarked on its first voyage. Just before we became Una-farers we had heard a loud bang when the house pulled away from its earthly roots. Now liberated from its foundations into which armor and stabilizers from the World War II bomb shells had been built, now without the stones from the old house that was burned down by Allied bombing and the river tufa in the foundations, the house was to withstand the worst yet: a voyage into the unknown.

Those fleet-footed who were not as surprised by the water as we were had climbed to Ravnik, to the very top of Hum, where they hoped that the sun would break though the clouds and stop the flood. Those of us who didn’t have much choice, and who didn’t want to let the vagaries of the weather to decide things for them, took matters into our own hands.

By some miracle the basement had crept into the house becoming our engineering deck, with its red pressure gauges and little round steering wheels for navigating uncertain and engorged waters. Whenever the engines unexpectedly overheated, their lids lifted up blowing off angry steam. The vines unwrapped itself around Mother’s house and turned into a leafy sail, just in case, as a spare drive. I went down to the basement, after we stripped the floor with the crowbar and our bare hands, and I grabbed the metal steering wheels. Mother stood in the kitchen by the window with Uncle Šeta who served in the Yugoslav Navy. She steered the house, which had become a vessel, holding prayer beads that hang from her hand. Those little amber beads circled through their inaudible universe. Šeta had the spear ready if he happened to see the fins of a large pike. The water sprayed all over our faces wanting leap into mother’s kitchen, but that didn’t diminish our sailors’ determination.

We were going down the Unadžik straight toward Pilanica all the way to the confluence whose sand banks were always full of barbells and sneeps. At the confluence the Unadžik flows into the Krušnica. There, the two

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