Where You Come From
“Stanišić is exceptionally talented.” —Los Angeles Times
Winner of the German Book Prize
Translated from the German by Damion Searls
From the internationally acclaimed author of Before the Feast and How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone comes a prize-winning novel that asks: what makes us who we are?
You find yourself in the strange, dimly lit cave of time. One passageway curves downward, the other leads upward. It occurs to you that the one leading down may go to the past and the one leading up may go to the future. Which one do you decide to take?
In August, 1992, a boy and his mother flee the war in Yugoslavia and arrive in Germany. Six months later, the boy’s father joins them, bringing a brown suitcase, insomnia, and a scar on his thigh. Saša Stanišić’s Where You Come From is a novel about this family, whose world is uprooted and remade by war: their history, their life before the conflict, and the years that followed their escape as they created a new life in a new country.
Blending autofiction, fable, and choose-your-own-adventure, Where You Come From is set in a village where only thirteen people remain, in lost and made-up memories, in coincidences, in choices, and in a dragons’ den. Translated by Damion Searls, it’s a novel about homelands, both remembered and imagined, lost and found. A book that playfully twists form and genre with wit and heart to explore questions that lie inside all of us: about language and shame, about arrival and making it just in time, about luck and death, about what role our origins and memories play in our lives.