Sixteen years ago, my wife and I became the host family for a young, college-age, woman escaping the war in Bosnia. We bonded immediately and later 'adopted' Aida as a member of our extended family. She went on to graduate Cum Laude from college and then Graduated from Penn Dental School. She is now our family dentist.
She and her friends from Bosnia (all secular Muslim refugees) spoke about what they suffered through during the Bosnian War. A few reports were so shocking, so horrific, that I was compelled the very next morning to begin writing a short story. Hundreds of drafts later, the short story became a novel, The Reluctant Hunter, which was recently voted Editor's Choice by my publisher.
Because I chose to go the route of self-publsihing so that I could maintain control of my work product, I have been covering the significant costs of the services provided by my publisher. I am now faced with the additional cost of promoting my novel through a BOOK TOUR campaign to bring this work to the widest reading audience. The BOOK TOUR involves me traveling to libraries, schools, relevant institutions, book clubs, etc. locally, stae-wide and nationally to speak about the novel and do readings. Although a tragic love story, it is also a book that communicates in powerfully vivid scenes and stirring dialogue the stupidity of war, the futility of ethnic conflict and also the importance of 'hope, friendship, and the healing power of love.'
I hope you will assist me in promoting this book. Aside from being a good read -- a page turner, if you will -- it is also a book that might help temper the passions of those who too readily take up arms to kill, relocate, or otherwise destroy the culture of those they have not taken the time to understand. A footnote: Aida, a secular Muslim, married a Serb and now has a child. As indicated in my novel, it is not long before the young men and women who were divided by war, end up marrying each other, causing one to ask? why did they fight in the first place?
"The Balkan wars ended one of the longest periods of peace in European history. My company, Bavarian TV, reported extensively from the Bosnian War, about unimaginable atrocities and victims of unspeakable violence. This war had an unerasable impact on the collective consciousness of Europeans and others around the world. Joel Levinson's debut novel, THE RELUCTANT HUNTER, demonstrates a deep understanding of that conflict. But his novel is much more than a brilliant account of historical facts. It transcends the limits of time and place to convey the truth about human nature at it best and at its worst. Jusuf Pasalic is an unforgettable character. His coming of age unfolds in the chaos of war among 'brothers' and reaches its culminating point in the most crucial decision a human being could possibly face . . . and the unfathomable guilt it carries with it. And yet THE RELUCTANT HUNTER is not only about despair and darkness, but also about survival, hope, friendship, and the healing power of love. Levinson's symbols are beautiful and his writing style is very much his own, which is something significant to say about a debut novel. I hope THE RELUCTANT HUNTER finds the large audience it deserves."
CLAUDIA MATHE is a news-editor at Bavarian/German TV
and has an MA in American Literature.