A major new novel about the collapse of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, ‘South Wind’, has been published. The author, Christen Thomson, a former BBC journalist, focuses on the ‘gangsterisation’ of the societies of the successor states.
"I spent a lot of time in Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro both during the war and after it,’ said Christen. “And although each of these states had quite different experiences, what was true of all of them was that they all had massive problems with crime. Criminals not only became enormously powerful, but their brand of gangster chic became cool, and it became fashionable to want to be a gangster, to dress like one, to look like one. This prevailing culture of violence and the breakup of both state and social order often led to the destruction of previous moral certainties among individuals. People changed. They did things that they would never have dreamt of doing before."
"The south wind, the ‘jugo’, is famous for being menacing, for making people fractious when its dark clouds hang over them, as though it were a kind of curse. The idea behind this novel is of the lands of the south Slavs having been cursed by the south wind, with storm clouds hanging over these lands in the 1990s like those of the sirocco."
"South Wind is a love story between a Scottish officer and a Bosnian girl. He sets out to win her heart by looking for her father who has gone missing in the war. To find him he must infiltrate the criminal underworld that dominates the new states created by the collapse of the old Yugoslavia. I hope it’s not only a good read, but captures a sense of time and place – how it felt to be there in those beautiful, tragic places then."
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