Society GLBT Literary Artists
Review by: Len
A book of amazing depth, emotion, and discovery. "Damages" is compelling, well written, and a book with which many will be able to relate. An epic family, political, and social piece dealing with love, betrayal, loss, and realization. Written against the backdrop of Tito's post Yugoslavia, and the American landscape, Bazhe brings many components of family / social structure and demise to point. Flare and an intense descriptive talent bring Bazhe's experiences vividly to life. "Damages" would make excellent required reading for any class studying the Macedonian social structure and effect of the Tito government.
"Damages" is written in a series of flashbacks beginning with the death of Bazhe's
abusive, Communist official, adoptive father. The memories Bazhe describes of his father's abuse is flavored by realism, pain, and strong visualizations. With a particularly strong talent for description, Bazhe is able to make you see and feel his pain at his father's cruel hands.
When Bazhe finds that his beloved adopted mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he leaves America to return to Macedonia to care for her. Here the juggling of two societies begin. The old ways of Macedonia and the new of America. As well the balance of family love and search as Bazhe seeks his biological mother. Needless to say, "Damages" is layered with multiple themes and references both emotional and social.
"Damages", a multi-faceted piece dealing with intense personal issues such as the exploration of Bazhe's sexuality, family and social reactions, International politics, and personal effects. Not just a book of sexuality by far, Bazhe addresses corruption, loyalty, and the interaction thereof. Weaved together by his strong devotion to his adoptive mother as he cares for her, and his search for self understanding and acceptance. The topics Bazhe includes are not for the faint hearted, as Bazhe brings the stark reality of a terminal disease and its effects to life. Equally so, Bazhe dramatically shares his experiences of manipulation, abuse, love or what seemed so, dishonesty, and competitive social structures which pit him against a wheel of intense growth and deep personal understanding.
The story told in "Damages" would be granted a huge disservice in an attempt to encapsulate here in such a short space. As focused topics are widely and wildly diverse yet core to the development of Bazhe as a person and artist. A strong read. One which leaves the reader with amazed respect, "Damages" unfolds unto a social and personal examination of spirit, determination, and grace. "Damages" is a book which holds its own and challenges the reader on so many levels. You will be better for this read. As Bazhe creates clear transfer from search to found and betrayal to love. Bravo to Bazhe's ability to show the deep portions of his life, his sexuality, his national origin, and ultimately personal growth and self acceptance. A must read for all, not just the GLBT community. Universal identification and appeal are strong.
About the author: Bazhe
A writer, poet, and artist, Bazhe has published poems and short stories in Former Yugoslavia. His poems have appeared in: Bay Windows, River Run, Winter's Gems Anthology, Opus Literary Review, and Reader. Bazhe's art has been exhibited in New York City. Bazhe now resides in New Jersey.
learn more at Bazhe's Website.
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