Dževad Karahasan

A House for the Wearied - Five Stories

(Original Bosnian title: Kuca za Umorne. Pjesme oljubavi u smrti)
(German title: Ein Haus für die Müden)
ca. 250 pages
Dževad Karahasan
Foto: Dževad Karahasan
© Jürgen Bauer

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 (2007), a collection of stories, as well as The Shadows of Cities (2010), a collection of essays. His work has been distinguished with numerous awards, including most recently the Goethe Prize 2020. 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


Rights available

Masterful short stories by one of the great European writers


Sarajevo, September 1914. In a newspaper editorial office, at the national bank and in other official locations, letters arrive with considerable delay, often years later. Yet it is not the war that has thrown the imperial and royal mail into confusion, but rather a postman in love who has fallen on the battlefield of the world war just unfolding.

Love and loss, progress and memory are the themes of these five long short-stories with which Dževad Karashan leaves the far-distant epoch of the setting of his opus magnum, The Solace of the Night Sky and returns to the twentieth century. Communism arrives in the backwoods of Bosnia. In the small towns, surrounded by lonely, majestic landscapes, Karahasan’s protagonists sense that a time is beginning in which there will not be a place for them any more. They are in denial – radical old men, stubbornly facing the world, insisting on their right to dream, to grieve, and to be tired, quite simply.

Letters that do not reach their destination because death and world history get in the way of love, are a leitmotif in A House for the Wearied. Karahasan describes growing older – a looking back at a world changing more quickly than the individuals in it can keep up with.


»Should the Nobel Prize committee ever come together again, Bosnian writer Dzevad Karahasan will no doubt be the recipient of the most esteemed literary prize in the world: on this point critics have been in agreement for years. And yet another reason to elevate him into the ranks of Nobel-Prize worthiness is his latest book. [...] Once again Karahasan shows that he knows how to transform humour, knowledge and dignity into literature as only few others know how, and in a delicately melancholic way, in the process creating a literature that sharpens one’s gaze and raises it to the horizon. [...] A book that is a clear show of solidarity with the weary, the defiant, and the dreamers of the world, while at the same time, as if in passing, taking stock of an entire century of Bosnian history.« ORF-Bestenliste, March 2019

»Dževad Karahasan, the great European author, writes about [Bosnia’s historical] confusion and existential helplessness. […] The five intelligent, melancholic and funny stories contained in his work A House for the Wearied span across an entire century.« Nicole Henneberg, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»a masterful collection of stories« Ilma Rakusa, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»A House for the Wearied [presents] new stories by the great Bosnian writer Dževad Karahasan.« Nico Bleutge, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Karahasan’s stories […] cannot simply be consumed. They stay on the reader’s mind long the book has been put aside.« Tobias Wenzel, NDR

»This volume is a painfully beautiful work about ageing, which one probably shouldn’t call ›the author’s later work‹ in hopes that a few more texts might follow.« Ö1, Ex Libris

»[Karahasan’s] far-reaching style, his subtle humour and his mystic-fantastical impulses steep his stories into the fascinating and dramatic world of the individual.« Lichtenberg Nachrichten

»[Karahasan] helps his readers [understand the world we live in] with intellectual curiosity, narrative power and wisdom.« ORF

»A brilliant storyteller.« Der Standard

»An event of the decade« Neue Zürcher Zeitung about The Solace of the Night Sky

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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Turkey (Ketebe); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), France (Laffont), Italy (Il Saggiatore), Sweden (Bosnisk-Hercegovinska Riksförbundet i Sverige), Slovenia (Cankarjeva Založba)

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

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Poland (Borderland), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Der nächtliche Rat/Night Council (2005)

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English world rights (Anubih), Bulgaria (Paradox), Slovenia (Cankarjeva Založba), Turkey (Apollon)