And Other Stories

Courtney Angela Brkic

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A brave and unnerving debut collection about life in wartime

In 1991 a war began in Yugoslavia that would last four years and claim more than a quarter of a million lives. In her harrowing fiction debut, Courtney Angela Brkic puts a human face on the lost, the missing, the exiled, and the invisible. She brings to life perpetrators and victims, soldiers and civilians, diplomats and human rights workers: a man trapped in a cellar witnesses the erasure of his city—and of his identity—as it is shelled by unseen bombers; a sniper posted in a building overlooking a city street takes comfort in the arbitrary rules he creates to choose his targets; a husband and wife who have been brutalized in detention centers pick up the pieces of their marriage.

The characters in Stillness are caught up in forces not of their own making. Rather than being uniformly powerless, however, they create choices where none should logically exist, and by doing so they defy the challenge of war. Brkic, who was a researcher and translator in Croatia, and a forensic archeologist in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the war, has written a powerful work of the imagination that somehow illuminates unimaginable events.


Read an Excerpt

In the Jasmine Shade
 ON THE LAST MORNING of that other life, the air had seemed sharp as she awoke, as if she were looking through a lens designed to bring everything into searing focus. There was none of the usual grogginess that accompanied waking, nor did she turn and huddle closer to her husband’s warmth, hoping to regain the dream landscape from which she had just emerged. She could not remember dreaming at all and lay with her eyes open wide.Listening, she realized that the shelling and gunfire which had torn the silence of the past several weeks


Praise for Stillness

"Like Ondaatje, Courtney Brkic exhales a redemptionary poetic quietude onto the page. The dead of Yugoslavia peer at us from behind her words."
-Tom Paine, author of Scar Vegas

"These marvelous stories full of sharp observations and touching moments show you more clearly and passionately what people go through in a war than most books of journalism do."
-Josip Novakovich, author of Salvation and Other Disasters

"Stillness manages the difficult fusion between a subject of substantive, brutal power and a literary style of unadorned grace. Given her work in Bosnia and Croatia, Courtney Angela Brkic is uniquely suited to serve as a witness to the genocidal war in Yugoslavia. But witness in and of itself cannot achieve the authentic leap of empathetic imagination that informs--that haunts--every sentence in this original and memorable debut collection."
-Stuart Dybek

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Courtney Angela Brkic

  • Courtney Angela Brkic has worked for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague and for Physicians for Human Rights. She is a graduate of the NYU M.F.A. program and divides her time between Arlington, Virginia, and New York City.
  • Courtney Angela Brkic Copyright Nancy Crampton


Available Formats and Book Details


And Other Stories

Courtney Angela Brkic

  • e-Book