Firewood of Sarajevo
In Firewood of Sarajevo, Said Khatibi compares and contrasts the sad destinies of two countries. At one time tied by bonds of friendship and ideology, both have become embroiled in futile civil wars, descending into hell and reaching a state where pain is the only common denominator uniting people. In Algeria, as in Bosnia Herzegovina, the twentieth century had a bloody end, as people were torn apart by issues of religion and ethnicity. The novel’s protagonists, Salim and Ivana, have in common the fact that they have both fled destructive war and hatred in their countries, and gone to build a new life in Slovenia. Through them, the ugliness of conflict between brothers belonging to the same land is exposed, now brothers only in pain. Even in exile, the smell of war lingers in their nostrils and its effects are felt in their everyday lives.