Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo, The

Paula Huntly
In 2000, one year after the NATO bombings in Kosovo, Paula Huntley took a job in Prishtina, teaching English as a Second Language to a group of Kosovo Albanians. A war story, a teacher's story, but most of all a story of hope, The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo is the journal Huntley kept in scattered notebooks or on her laptop over the eight months that she lived and worked in Kosovo. Neither a journalist nor a historian, Huntley describes with a rare purity and directness her students' experiences during the war and the intimacy of the bond that she formed with them. When Huntley asked her students if they would like to form an American-style "book club" that would meet at her house, they jumped at the idea. After stumbling upon a stray English-language copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, Huntley made copies of the book and proposed it as the club's first selection. The simple fable about an old man's struggle to bring in his big fish touched all the students deeply, and the club rapidly became a forum in which they could discuss both the terrors of their past and their dreams for the future. A compelling tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo shines a ray of hope in these difficult times.

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