Stone Fields: An Epitaph for the Living by Courtney Brkic
Twenty-three years old, forensic archaeologist Courtney Brkic joined a UN-contracted team excavating mass grave sites in eastern Bosnia. She was drawn there by her family history-her father is Croatian - and she was fluent in the language. As she describes the gruesome work of recovering remains and transcribing the memories of survivors, she re-imagines her family's own catastrophic history in Yugoslavia. Alternating chapters explore her grandmother's life - her childhood in Herzegovina, early widowhood, and imprisonment during the Second World War for hiding her Jewish lover. The movement throughout the book between the past and the present has a powerful effect, evoking belonging and nationality, what it is to feel rooted in a particular country, how its landscape forms you; and also shedding light on the roots of violence and genocide.