Miss Ex-Yugoslavia
“Sofija Stefanovic’s beautiful memoir Miss Ex-Yugoslavia depicts the elegant transit of a girl becoming an artist. This is a story we yearn to know: How does a girl lose her childhood, family, and nation, yet nurture her memories, dreams, and art? Stefanovic hits all her marks, and she keeps us in her thrall.” —Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist“Funny and tragic and beautiful in all the right places. I loved it.” —Jenny Lawson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously HappyA funny, dark, and tender memoir about the immigrant experience and life as a perpetual fish-out-of-water, from the acclaimed Serbian-Australian storyteller.Sofija Stefanovic makes the first of many awkward entrances in 1982, when she is born in Belgrade, the capital of socialist Yugoslavia. The circumstances of her birth (a blackout, gasoline shortages, bickering parents) don’t exactly get her off to a running start. While around her, ethnic tensions are stoked by totalitarian leaders with violent agendas, Stefanovic's early life is filled with Yugo rock, inadvisable crushes, and the quirky ups and downs of life in a socialist state.As the political situation grows more dire, the Stefanovics travel back and forth between faraway, peaceful Australia, where they can’t seem to fit in, and their turbulent homeland, which they can’t seem to shake. Meanwhile, Yugoslavia collapses into the bloodiest European conflict in recent history.Featuring warlords and beauty queens, tiger cubs and Baby-Sitters Clubs, Sofija Stefanovic’s memoir is a window to a complicated culture that she both cherishes and resents. Revealing war and immigration from the crucial viewpoint of women and children, Stefanovic chronicles her own coming-of-age, both as a woman and as an artist who yearns to take control of her own story. Refreshingly candid, poignant, and illuminating, Miss Ex-Yugoslavia introduces a vital new voice to the immigrant narrative.

Miss Ex-Yugoslavia Details

TitleMiss Ex-Yugoslavia
Author
ReleaseApr 17th, 2018
PublisherAtria Books
ISBN-139781501165740
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography Memoir, War, Historical

Miss Ex-Yugoslavia Review

  • Jennie Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious and heartfelt, I'm now a major fan of Sofija Stefanovic. I started reading in a waiting room and was forced to stifle bubbling laughter more than once. Oh the voice!! But with the humour is a depiction of what it's like to feel displaced, floating between two homes and unsure which one is actually "home." Escaping war may seem simple in a physical sense if one can leave the country, but emotionally, how can one go on living while friends and family suffer? The way Stefanovic examines t Hilarious and heartfelt, I'm now a major fan of Sofija Stefanovic. I started reading in a waiting room and was forced to stifle bubbling laughter more than once. Oh the voice!! But with the humour is a depiction of what it's like to feel displaced, floating between two homes and unsure which one is actually "home." Escaping war may seem simple in a physical sense if one can leave the country, but emotionally, how can one go on living while friends and family suffer? The way Stefanovic examines that concept made me feel contemplative, and I think it's because at first, she sucked me in with her humorous childhood accounts. She got on my level, I suppose, and I now know more about the war in Belgrade and socialist Yugoslavia than I ever learned from the news. Five stars all the way for this compassionate, spirited, and introspective work of non-fiction.Big thanks to Atria books for an ARC!
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  • Janieh Hermann
    January 1, 1970
    A heartwarming and memorable memoir.
  • Susie | Novel Visits
    January 1, 1970
    My Thoughts: Sofija Stefanovic did a wonderful job telling the story of her immigrant experiences in Miss Ex-Yugoslavia. Stefanovik was born in socialist Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1982. No one had much, but her parents as intellectuals, lived a stimulating life constantly debating the politics of their country. When Sofija was 5, her parents, concerned about the growing political unrest in their country, made the difficult decision to immigrate to Australia. This was only the first move for the fa My Thoughts: Sofija Stefanovic did a wonderful job telling the story of her immigrant experiences in Miss Ex-Yugoslavia. Stefanovik was born in socialist Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1982. No one had much, but her parents as intellectuals, lived a stimulating life constantly debating the politics of their country. When Sofija was 5, her parents, concerned about the growing political unrest in their country, made the difficult decision to immigrate to Australia. This was only the first move for the family. After two years in Australia (enough time to gain citizenship) they returned to Yugoslavia. The situation in Belgrade grew worse, so after another two years they fled back to Australia.With each move, Stefanovic was again the outsider. The initial transition to Australia was the most difficult as everything was new, she had to learn English, and other children were not welcoming. Back in Belgrade, her Serbian now had a strange accent and the other kids looked at her with suspicion. After returning to Australia for good, her family could find comfort with others in the larger Yugoslavian diaspora, but the constant worry about the wars at home took their tole.Though Stefanovic worked to balance her personal journey with the wars raging in Yugoslavia, at times the political side of her book bogged down. It was important to fully understand Stefanovic’s experiences and feelings of being an outsider, but I would have liked just a little less of the history and a little more of the story of her evolution. I found the last part of the book especially appealing as Stefanovic came to fully realize the horrors of all wars and the plight of innocent immigrants displaced by them. Note: I received a copy of this book from Atria Books (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest thoughts.Original Source - Novel Visits: https://novelvisits.com/mini-reviews-...
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  • Bri Lee
    January 1, 1970
    I've just finished Miss Ex-Yugoslavia by Sofija Stefanovic ahead of the event I'll be running with her when she comes to Brisbane in May. (For full disclosure: I've know Sofija for a few years now and consider her a friend.) This book is such a wonderful work of memoir--a strong example of how a life is formed by many small moments that gain significance when examined and written well. Sofija grew up in a country that would soon no longer exist and this is a coming-of-age story plus migrant stor I've just finished Miss Ex-Yugoslavia by Sofija Stefanovic ahead of the event I'll be running with her when she comes to Brisbane in May. (For full disclosure: I've know Sofija for a few years now and consider her a friend.) This book is such a wonderful work of memoir--a strong example of how a life is formed by many small moments that gain significance when examined and written well. Sofija grew up in a country that would soon no longer exist and this is a coming-of-age story plus migrant story plus examination of modern political history. There are so many heartbreaking, touching moments with her parents in particular--one of whom adjusts to the move to Australia much better than the other. The book is a portrait of a life with a foot in each place, and of a child struggling to define themselves as not only distinct from her parents but also national identity. The final few chapters are the strongest.
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  • Karen Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    Miss Ex-Yugoslavia is a wonderfully written memoir from the time when Yugoslavia was still a country. The author weaves her own perspectives as a child into the politically divisive era of the Croation-Serbian war. She describes the political landscape that brought war to her homeland and the trials and tribulations that were suffered. I didn't have any expectations from the book, but fell in love with the narrator and her storytelling. She lands in Australia with many ex-Yugos, ending in a beau Miss Ex-Yugoslavia is a wonderfully written memoir from the time when Yugoslavia was still a country. The author weaves her own perspectives as a child into the politically divisive era of the Croation-Serbian war. She describes the political landscape that brought war to her homeland and the trials and tribulations that were suffered. I didn't have any expectations from the book, but fell in love with the narrator and her storytelling. She lands in Australia with many ex-Yugos, ending in a beauty pageant for a country that no longer exists. The irony isn't lost on anyone. I would recommend this story to anyone, poignantly written by someone who continues to be caught between two world.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this memoir about a woman who goes to a foreign land and has a culture shock. She is entered into a beauty contest for a "miss ex-yugoslavia" along with other immigrants. This biography is tragic at times and funny as well.I would like to thank the author and publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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