Ukulele Jam by Alen Mešković

Ukulele Jam

Alen Mešković

Reading like a Nick Hornby novel, with numerous musical references, this is a coming of age tale for a Bosnian teen, with all the usual teenage problems but growing up in a refugee camp in Croatia during the war. Miki’s past experiences, and fears for his brother, colour everything that he is going through. The story has a youthful ease, slipping from humour to tragedy, moment to moment, with an engaging, moving style.


I leant my forehead against the headrest in front of me. Mum was in the same position. We waited and waited. I locked my eyes shut and in the darkness, yellow circles began to spread like ripples in a pond. I thought I was going to throw up. But nothing came. My stomach just cramped up and I got dizzy.
The Engine continued to idle. The voices outside grew alternately louder and quieter as a gentle summer rain began to patter against the windows.
Maybe they’re butchering them with knives, I thought. Or are they using silencers? Maybe it’s already over.
When the men boarded the bus again, their clothes were wet. They moved slowly and nobody said a word. Their faces were indistinguishable in the darkness.

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