Dževad Karahasan

The Book of Gardens - Essays

Original Bosnian title: Knjiga vrtova, published in 2001 by Antibarbarus
(German title: Das Buch der Gärten)
ca. 192 pages
Dževad Karahasan
Foto: Dževad Karahasan
© Isolde Ohlbaum

Dževad Karahasan, born in Duvno/Yugoslavia in 1953, is an author, playwright and essayist. The Siege of Sarajevo was the subject of the diary Exodus from a City (1993), translated into ten languages, of the essay collection entitled The Book of Gardens (2004) and of his novels The Rink of Shahrijar (1997) and Sara and Serafina (2000). His works also include the novel The Nocturnal Council (2006), Reports from a Dark World (200), a collection of stories, as well as The Shadows of Cities (2010), a collection of essays. His work has been distinguished with numerous awards. Karahasan lives in Graz and Sarajevo.

»Readers let Dževad Karahasan take them by the hand with great pleasure. The Bosnian novelist and essayist, who grew up with the Quran, well-versed in Goethe and Georg Büchner, appears as a welcome pilot amidst the perils of West-East misunderstandings.« Ilma Rakusa, NZZ


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The eminent Bosnian author Dževad Karahasan, an expert on both Arabic and western literature and philosophy, attempts to discover connections between cultural traditions whose aesthetic and spiritual riches are in danger of being lost.

Are our earthly gardens merely shadows projected to earth from the Garden of Paradise? Why were the Holy Scriptures of the written religions revealed in so few languages, and why in Arabic, Hebrew and Greek? Is there a connection between the language of mankind and that of gardens? Is it pure chance that those cultures that were familiar with the desert developed our idea of paradise? What can parks and gardens tell us about nature in a city, about a society's inner state, about the way it perceives, happiness, intimacy and secrets?

Other publications

Der Trost des Nachthimmels/The Solace of the Night Sky (2016)

Sold to:

Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai Translation Publishing House), Bulgaria (Paradox), Slovenia (Beletrina), Turkey (Iletisim), Greece (Hestia), Iran (Donya-e-Eqtesad), Part 1: Macedonia (Templum)

Sara und Serafina/Sara and Serafina (2014)

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Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg – published, rights reverted), France (Laffont – published, rights reverted), Italy (Il Saggiatore – published, rights reverted), Sweden (Bosnisk-Hercegovinska Riksförbundet i Sverige – published, rights reverted), Slovenia (Cankarjeva Založba – published, rights reverted), Turkey (Ketebe)

Berichte aus der dunklen Welt/Reports from a Dark World (2007)

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Poland (Borderland), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Der nächtliche Rat/The Nocturnal Council (2005)

Sold to:

Bulgaria (Paradox), Slovenia (Cankarjeva Založba), Turkey (Apollon)