Sabaheta is a young Bosnian Muslim who changes her name to Bosnia; the novel follows her and her friends as they try to build safe lives and loving relationships both during and after the Bosnian War in the mid 1990s.

Discussion Questions

Please note that some of the discussion points below may act as spoilers for the book’s content.

1.      why does Sabaheta change her names to Bosnia? What is the personal significance of this action?

2.      how does Bosnia’s personal journey - particularly waiting for Mumo’s return and her mother’s illness to heal – reflect the journey of her country?

3.      why does Bosnia seek solace in a religion she had previously never practiced?

4.      was the worst horror of the war the pleasure found in killing as Adem believes or the destruction of normal daily life?

5.      how can you explain the brief peace that Bosnia finds in Sarajevo despite the horrific events taking place around her?

6.      do Bosnia and Adem find an escape from their past in France?  Why do they find Paris threatening rather than comforting?

7.      Bosnia says ‘There are miracles in peacetime as in wartime’.  What miracles does she encounter in both situations?

8.      discuss the relationship between Hannah and Bosnia and their shared but different experiences.

You can download this book activity.

You can use HMD resources to find out more about the genocide in Bosnia http://www.hmd.org.uk/genocides/bosnia/ and Kemal Pervanic – a Muslim survivor of the genocide http://www.hmd.org.uk/resources/education/case-study-kemal-pervanic.