From an interview with German site Deutsche Welle, the Bosnian-born writer talks about his home country and how it shapes his writing:
Is it possible as a writer, who comes from a place where a war has been fought, to write in a separate space about the space that has been influenced by social and political upheaval*?
Living outside of history is a privilege that comes to people who live in affluent societies, and affluent people can protect themselves from history. But of course one day air planes fly into the high-rise buildings somewhere and then everything changes. It's a delusional privilege or it's a privilege of delusion to think that you can live outside of history. Where I come from, nobody can really afford that kind of illusion and even if you are able to temporarily delude yourself, reality still comes crashing down with certain regularity.
When I was younger I busied myself with imagining and finding ways in which I could protect myself and find a safe haven and a space where I could be free of history and politics and the humiliations and suffering that comes with that. And I thought that I could find it in art, but that of course came crashing down in more ways than one. And after that, it seemed to me to be not only necessary but also inescapable - to confront all that with art, writing and literature. So I don't go for quiet epiphanies. Things happen in my stories and my books. A lot of things happen. I cannot imagine living a life where nothing happens. If it doesn't happen to me personally, then it happens all around me - it's an openness to history and the world. I have learned to live with it. And it wasn't entirely my choice; just as it's not the choice for people who live in these parts of the world like Bosnia.
His novel The Lazarus Project is one of the best books I've read all year. Worth picking up a copy, if you're looking for some rainy-day reading.
*is it me, or is that a gibberish question?