First round selection for the Prix Goncourt 2005
Le pont de Ran-Mositar tells the story of Schwara, a master carpenter, and his pursuit of Jon, a mysterious young man, from the forests of the Northern Mountains to the beautiful though war-ravaged town of Mostar in Bosnia. It is also the story of Irini, who merely in order to survive, and to bring some relief to her dying daughter Luria, works tirelessly at the rebuilding of the Mostar Bridge, an exquisite 16th-century Ottoman construction famously shelled a year earlier by Croat tanks. As their stories unfold, Schwara, Jon, Irini and Luria’s paths will collide. Many other characters haunt this tale, and the story of their broken lives is echoed by the destruction of the bridge.
The transposition of the 1993 bombing of the Mostar Bridge onto this lyrical story gives a larger dimension to the tragedy of the Yugoslavian conflict. The magic of the Bosnian countryside, the charismatic characters, and the lyricism of the narrative lend this account a fairy-tale quality that quickly turns to a nightmare where victims and torturers alike are implicated in a single tragedy.