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Black Butterflies: SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE 2023

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As the assault deepens and everything they love is laid to waste, black ashes floating over the rooftops, Zora and her friends are forced to rebuild themselves, over and over.

Zora's art is not only a source of engagement and comfort for her during those difficult times but also provides readers a brief glimpse into the folklore and historical Ottoman architecture of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is what Zora does and also really the way she expresses her love for the city and also her emotions towards it.This book explores both the atrocity of war, including the desperate toll on innocent people who are just trying to live. Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). There were so many situations I simply couldn't fathom - your family property being distributed among strangers because of a communist government's weird beliefs, being on the waiting list for more than a decade to get a flat allotted, the government declaring that anyone can move into empty house as the owners have “abandoned” them… and this is even before the actual war began!

It reads like a straight telling of one woman’s experience and feels totally authentic… Along with human kindness, there is a quiet emphasis on the power of art: Zora’s paintings, like the existence of this book, are testimony to the way that wars come and go but art goes on forever. While things are difficult and there are small obstacles she must face, Zora begins to enjoy the solitude and the chance it gives her to engage in her painting.The residents of Zora’s apartment building stuck together and supported each other revealing their resilience and love for their community as they painted, sang and watched out for one another. Morris is interested in the everyday practicalities of living in a war zone – how to eat, sleep and stave off boredom – and her unassuming prose reflects that.

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