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1 Citation in this Annotation:
Natália Peťková on Asylum Road
17 November, 2023
Olivia Katarina Sudjic (born 1988) is a young British fiction writer Sudjic was born in London, England. Her father is Dejan Sudjic who grew up in Acton, London; his parents, who were immigrants from Yugoslavia, spoke Serbo-Croatian at home. Sudjic’s third novel Asylum Road was published in 2021. Therein, the narrator Anya is from Sarajevo. She had survived the siege of the city and was sent to live in Glasgow as a child whilst her parents stayed behind. The novel is about her physical and emotional breakdown as she grapples a past to which she feels a stranger and a hostage. It is something she has been avoiding till now and her breakdown is is provoked by a trip she undertakes with her fiance from London to visit the remaining members of her family in Sarajevo.
It is never said explicitly in the text but the word asylum refers to both the protection offered by a country to someone who left their home as a politico refugee and an institution for the care of people who are mentally ill.
Unlike the two other novels annotated in this collection, the book is about involuntary migration. Due to war but also because she was but a child. As a child, whatever the circumstances of leaving one’s home, the departure is imposed and relatively little literature that deals with this experiences of emigration from a child’s perspective. How you don’t have the tools to understand otherness and seek to/are expected to assimilate at all cost – the violence of that.
Signs she comes across that are transcribed in capitals in the book like NO PLACE LIKE HOME, DO NOT STOP, DO NOT RETURN clearly resonate
with her in unsettling ways.