Cinnia's Story

by Lily Violet

"At that moment in life, I realised, at such a young age, that money was worthless and the only thing that mattered was our family was alive and together."

From 1992 to 1996, the city of Sarajevo lay under siege. It was the longest siege in modern history. The author was a young child during this time. Although she never acknowledges the name of her native land or the two wars she lived through, it’s clear that her details of the endless bombings, sniper alleys, and daily deprivations are descriptions of the Yugoslav Wars. Her family flees the city early on, leaving her father behind, but moves back into Sarajevo after his name mistakenly appears on the list of deaths. From that point on, Lily and her family live on borrowed time. Lily herself narrowly escapes death a number of times.

When the peace treaty is signed, and the land is divided, Lily’s family is forced to flee the city. They struggle to remake the life they had before, but along the way, they must survive yet another war. Lily grows into a young woman with the nickname “Cinnia,” which comes to represent the side of her that still has faith in humanity. But after she moves to Australia to be with her love, a man who would turn abusive, Lily begins to lose her sense of self. How will Lily, who has survived two wars and countless hardships, learn to love herself again and find her way in life?

The answer to this question is provided in this fast-paced book. The only disappointment with the author’s memoir is that there isn’t more of it. The challenges of living in a city under siege are, unfortunately, still relevant in several regions of the world today. The author offers a stark reminder that, long after the bombs cease to fall, refugees—of any conflict—continue to pay the price of war. Lily’s story illuminates how civilians must bear the burden of wars that other parties start.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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