T.M. Barun sent me two biographies. Both agree that he was born in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1955 and lived with his mother until her death in l972. At the age of l7, he moved in with his aunt and uncle, and there the stories diverge.
One story says that he completed law school, and went to work for a leading Bosnian ministry. One day, in 1993, when he reported for work, they told him to turn in his keyboard and pick up a rifle. The story that follows is the one he wrote when he returned.
The other version says that he soon left his aunt and uncle and went to Rijeka, where he worked as a construction worker. His co-workers, mostly local smugglers and small-town adventurers, constantly spoke about how great life was in the West. For a while, he listened, and, when he had heard enough, he packed a single, canvas bag and hitchhiked West. He headed for Italy and drifted on to France. When a local magistrate strongly suggested that he leave the country (a story, in itself), he joined the Foreign Legion.
Will the real Mr. Barun please stand up? In either case, his novel, Bosnian Fever, describes, through the life of his hero, Martin Radman, many of the events that actually happened to him.
Whichever biography is true, Mr. Barun's Bosnian Fever will make you grateful that you were never there.
The Great American Publishing Society (GR.AM.P.S.)
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA • Summer, 1997
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