Srb, Lika, is a memoir with short stories and photos. In this book, Miki Knezevic delves into the lives of a group of relatives from a Serbian village in today’s Croatia, formerly Yugoslavia.
In the late 1700s in the military frontier between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, wandering Serbian soldiers were given plots of land if they would protect the Austrians from the yearly incursions of the massive Ottoman army. The Serbians were to become the frontline fodder in protecting the Austrians against the Turks.
Deemed second-class citizens, the Serbs were not immune to Austrian tax collectors or to government demands. Life was never easy under the Austro/Hungarian Empire nor under the different rulers of Srb in World War I, World War II and the Communist era. In telling the creative non-fiction stories of her family, Knezevic explores the history, customs, religion and wanderings of the villagers, particularly the tales of her parents and their siblings.
Both parents emigrated to the United States, although at different times. They settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had a family and continued to help relatives both in Srb and in the United States. From her initial visit to Srb as a young girl, Knezevic has visited the village at least seven times. In Srb, Lika, A portrait of a small village, Knezevic recounts the meeting of her relatives, their life stories and the relationships that developed between aunts, uncles, cousins in Srb and her family in the United States. The stories are sometimes sad, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, but most often display the love of a woman in meeting the characters that were and are her ancestors and family.
Srb, Lika is available through Amazon, and should soon be available through local Madison bookstores.