David Albahari: Kontrolni punkt (Checkpoint)

The latest addition to my website is David Albahari‘s Kontrolni punkt (Checkpoint). The novel tells about a platoon of soldiers sent to man a barrier on the top of the hill. They have no idea what the barrier is for, where they are – even which country they are in – nor what they are supposed to do. There is no habitation around and no-one wants to pass through the barrier. Initially, it is calm but then one of the soldiers is found murdered. Gradually, other soldiers are picked off. A group of refugees arrives to pass through the barrier but that does not go well. Eventually, a war does arrive as armed forces arrive but it is still not clear either to our original soldiers or, indeed, to the others who is fighting whom and why. What we do know is that the war is particularly barbaric and cruel, both towards the enemy soldiers – everyone is the enemy – and towards the civilian population. Clearly based on the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, the book does not hold back as damning war as pointless and cruel.

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