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Bosnian Chronicle by Ivo Andrić

Bosnian Chronicle (1945)

by Ivo Andrić

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Bosnian Chronicle is set in the small Bosnian town of Travnik, during the Napoleonic wars. People from four religions live in Travnik - Jews who were banished from Spain 300 years ago, and still try to maintain their Spanish traditions; Orthodox Christians, mainly Serbian; Muslims, called Turks even though they are native Bosnians; Catholics. Bosnia is part of the Ottoman Empire, ruled by the Sultan in Istanbul who is represented in Travnik by the Vizier.

The Ottoman empire is in decline. It has lost its Hungarian territories to the Austrians, and Serbia is in revolt against Ottoman rule. As Napoleon endeavours to establish an alliance with the Ottomans, a French consulate is set up in Travnik. To counter French influence, the Austrians set up a consulate as well. Andric describes the lives and characters of the consuls, Europeans stranded in the Levant among alien people and customs, carrying out diplomatic duties that change with their countries' shifting alliances.

There are so many layers, so much to think about. Absolutely worth the effort. ( )
1 vote pamelad | Jan 25, 2018 |
Bosnian Chronicle is concerned with the lives of a French consul and two Austrian consuls in Travnik, Bosnia from 1807 to 1814 during the Empire reign of Napolean. The novel is full of rich descriptions of the Bosnian countryside and its inhabitants, the religious tensions among the Christians, Moslems and Jews, the constant conflict with Serbia and life under the ruling Turks.
Detailed portraits of the main characters leave the reader feeling all the loneliness, fears, hopes and frustrations of being a foreigner living in a politically unstable Bosnia at the time.
I liked this book mostly because: 1. I like historical fiction and this is the first novel I read that takes place in the Balkans. 2. The author's descriptive writing style draws you into the lives of the characters and gives you a real sense of place and history. ( )
  GerrysBookshelf | Dec 2, 2013 |
Set in a small town in Bosnia during the Napoleonic wars, this book seems to tell the story of the foreigners who live there: the Turkish ruler and two consuls, one from France and one from Austria, and their families. But it is really a portrait of the turbulent times and the people of a town that has gone back and forth between outside occupiers for centuries. Andrić has deep insights into character and into the impact of history on personal ambitions. Andrić wrote this book at the very end of World War II, so he had the benefit of seeing the role that the region played in the first part of the 20th century, but the picture he paints tells a lot about the region's role in our contemporary and recent history too. A slow read, but worth it.
2 vote rebeccanyc | Apr 14, 2010 |
A brilliant novel of conquest and diplomatic intrigue set in Travnik, Bosnia spanning seven years, from 1807-1814 when French and Austrian consuls served alongside the Turkish Viziers in this remote outpost of the Ottoman Empire. Andrić masterfully weaves together a sweeping view of the major events at that time driven by Napoleon's victories and eventual defeat which touched the far reaches of Europe and beyond, and a careful examination of its impacts on the administration of town life in distant Travnik.

The fortunes of and relations beween the Consuls mirror the ebb and flow of Napoleon's sweep across the continent, although nothing much has changed in the lives of the ordinary people. Suspicion, intrigue, but also a quiet acceptance of each other continue to define relations between the Turks (Bosnian Moslems), the Catholics, the Jews, and the Orthodox Christians.

The novel is both profound and complex. We are treated to a psychological and sociological examination of life in this tumultuous and harsh region, from the point of view of outsiders. We follow Daville, the highly motivated, efficient French consul and his daily struggle to function effectively as a representative of the new power, amidst the backwardness and pig-headed resistance of the community to change and to progress. We see how these consuls and their families, each in their own way, battled their demons which the difficult and lonely life in Travnik has unmercifully unleashed. We become familiar with the intricate diplomatic dance between the ruling Vizier and the Consuls, and between the two Consuls themselves as they reflect relations between two advancing and sometimes warring powers eager to take over the region. We are introduced to characters and views which exemplified the two extremes of tradition and conservatism on one hand, and modernity and liberalism on the other -- the proverbial clash of east and west.

Andrić writes very beautifully in this novel -- his imagery and depiction of the town, the countryside, and most of all the weather (!) is unforgettable. Especially memorable is his description of one particularly long period of rain so vividly and so poetically written, it reminded me of Garcia Marquez's depiction of one similar long episode of rain in One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Compared to his more widely known novel, The Bridge on the Drina, this is a more penetrating and sensitive account of life 200 years ago in this crossroads of East and West. Andrić's own experience as a diplomat lends further authenticity to the consuls' stories. I enjoyed very much The Bridge but I liked this novel even better. It is considered by his countrymen to be Andrić's masterpiece. I would not hesitate to describe this as one of those rare perfect novels. ( )
2 vote deebee1 | Nov 2, 2009 |
Bosnian Chronicle is set in Travnik, a small town in central Bosnia (the original title is actually Travnik Chronicle) in early 19th century during the rise and fall of Napoleon. The story of stoic Bosnian people who endure yet another turbulent period in history is told through the eyes of French and Austrian consuls and Turkish viziers who at the time have seat in Travnik. As they all dance to an awkward diplomatic tune that reflects the state of the affairs on the broader stage, none of them can understand the people they are surrounded by. And yet, at the end, it is the Bosnians themselves that have the last word as they watch the wheel of history turn one more time.

Beautifully told, with a rich cast of characters, Bosnian Chronicle is a masterpiece of literature. It also provides an insight into complex people who for centuries have lived on the crossroads of history. This should have been mandatory reading for every western official serving in Bosnia over the past 15 or so years. ( )
  bojanfurst | Apr 30, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Konsulene er ganske annerledes enn den dramatiske og fortettede Broen over Drina. I denne andre romanen flyter handlingen langsommere og bredere, som en speiling av livsrytmen i byen Travnik på begynnelsen av 1800-tallet. Napoleon "Bunaparte" sender en fransk konsul til byen. Jean Daville og hans livsglade hustru synes de er kommet til verdens ytterste utpost. Travnik er vesirens by. Muslimske tyrkere har makten, og det er tyrkerne som dominerer bybildet, men innslagene av jøder og kristne gir grobunn for rivalisering og uro, og alle har sine egne forventninger til den nye konsulen. Møtet, etterhvert snarere konfrontasjonen mellom konsulen og travnikbeboernes religion, tradisjon og generelle verdensanskuelse er noen ganger komisk, ofte skremmende og komplisert.

Konsulene er et fargerikt og underholdende storverk fra en del av Europa som stadig, med skiftenden styrke, opptrer i nyhetsbildet. Som i Andrics andre storverk, Broen over Drina, kommer historien – historiene – bak nyhetene myldrende til live.

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ivo Andrićprimary authorall editionscalculated
Garrido Ramos, Luisa FernandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hitrec, JosephTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pištelek, TihomirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salvini, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinervo, ElviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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