Book Review: “Haunting From the Past” by Sanela Ramic Jurich

Five Stars   

A Voice for the Voiceless – Deep and Honest

Haunting from the Past Readers will enjoy this authentic story of triumph over tragedy. Written as a sequel to Ms. Jurich’s debut novel, Remember Me, I’ll venture to say this one is even better. Told from the point of view of a master storyteller, the novel’s Prologue launches the reader into investigating some deep and meaningful questions that may or may not be answered. I found myself immediately captivated in anticipation of an emotional roller coaster ride of a journey, later to discover pure satisfaction when the ride was over.

The author’s prose will tug at your heartstrings as the story opens with the main character; Selma Mazur accepting an invitation to return to the places where the demons of the traumatic past still haunt her in the quiet of her dreams. Told in the first person from Selma’s point of view, the reader is presented with the dilemmas and emotions Selma must face as the story unfolds. Ms. Jurich’s core theme centers on giving voice to the unheard, specifically the casualties of the human conflict. This story is written from the perspective of the knowing, and warrants a broad audience, the underlying hope that the painful lessons of the past will not be forgotten.

The story is rich with place descriptions, and realistic dialogue that made me feel like I was in the story, beside Selma as she came face to face with an imprisoned war criminal to listen to his confessions. Eventually Selma travels to Prijedor, her native town in the north of Bosnia-Herzegovina. While there she recognizes her need for closure and tells herself, it is “…time for me to start coming to grips with my past.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle ways that Ms. Jurich’s theme came through in the dialogue. When Selma’s mother, Sabina tells Selma she’d been giving money to Damir, a Serb boy now in jail and struggling with his drug addiction while fighting demons of his own, Selma wonders how her mother could be so willing to forgive. Sabina’s response, “I like to think that there are more good people in this world than bad ones, and no matter what he did to others, we cannot forget that he was good to us.”

Now that I’ve read this story, one particular “haunting” idea continues to run around in my mind. When Selma contemplates the war criminal, Mr. Pavlovic, whom she meets with at the beginning of the story, she reflects on the notion that had there not been a war, and had this man Pavlovic not been thrust into the position he found himself in, the side of him that became monstrous in war may never have come to light. He would have possibly remained a respectable businessman, married with a child, living a peaceful life with no idea of ever harming another human being.

Though this novel is a sequel, it can stand on it’s own with sufficient back story to cover some of the key plot elements from Remember Me. However, I’d venture to guess that anyone who enjoys reading Haunting From The Past, would definitely want to read them both. For readers remotely reluctant to dive into stories with dark and tragic plot elements, I can assure that the satisfying conclusion of this story is most certainly one of “Triumph over Tragedy.”

Look for Haunting From The Past on Amazon to pre-order a copy.  It will be officially released on 6 May 2014.

Signed copies of both novels are available directly from the author’s website.

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One Response to Book Review: “Haunting From the Past” by Sanela Ramic Jurich

  1. Pingback: Interview with Sanela Ramic Jurich, author of the novels, “Remember Me” and her latest, “Haunting From The Past” | iSTAR – I Support the Arts Revolution

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