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Suffled How it Gush, A North American in the Balkans


5.0 average, based on 1 reviews

Manufacturer: AK Press

Product Information

Author Shon Meckfessel appropriates the peculiar slogan of an Albanian mineral water company as the title for this uniquely intellectual book. Equal parts journalism, history, and personal memoir, Suffled How it Gush records Shon's travels throughout ex-Yugoslavia and the greater Balkans region, chronicling the beauty of an area too renowned for its ugliness.

"Shon Meckfessel bathes in undercurrent discourses and points us to Balkan dynamics contradicting the nationalist loyalties that distort people's lives. Rather than making ethnic claims or endorsing any hierarchy, he clarifies existing struggles against states and points toward a region free of domination." —George Katsiaficas, activist and author of Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life

"Shon Meckfessel takes on the impossible task of unraveling the cultural and political mysteries and incongruities of the post-war Balkans, a world where dictionaries are constantly rewritten and Vegeta on every shelf represents 'globalization as hope.' In a landscape torn by racism and violence, he finds truth and beauty emerging from old men without socks, bottles of rakija, clouds of pigeons over Sufi booksales, and punk rock love amidst crushed mint." —Kari Lydersen, author of Revolt on Goose Island and co-author of Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun

"[Shon] is a perfect collector of the ruminatings of the denizens of the Balkans as they wrestle with the difficulties—imposed and organic—of polyethnicity. Meckfessel's patient portraits, which delve deeply into the illogic of the nation-state itself, deserve wide readership." —Daniel Burton-Rose, co-editor of Confronting Capitalism

"This work reads like a novel, but it's real journalism; Shon went hunting for truths and brought them back for us." —Michael Muhammad Knight, author of The Taqwacores and The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip Hop, and the Gods of New York

Shon Meckfesselgrew up in Sacramento, California. He has resided in and traveled throughout North America, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. He has spent three years in the Balkans, over eleven different trips (and counting). Previous publications include an essay in Confronting Capitalism: Dispatches from a Global Movement (Soft Skull Press, 2004) and a number of articles in literary and political periodicals. He first visited the Balkan peninsula in 1999, and was just feeling at home when NATO began bombing it; upon returning to the US, he found that many who opposed the bombing supported the same nationalist dictatorships that were brutalizing his new-found friends. Attempts to address that situation resulted in Suffled How It Gush. He currently resides in Seattle, working as an English as a Second Language instructor, and is pursuing a PhD at the University of Washington in Language and Rhetoric.

Published by AK Press, 2009.

Product Code: 9781904859857

Customer Reviews

Average Rating: 5


I must admit that when I received my friends of AK parcel with this book in it didn’t go to the top of my ‘to read’ pile. Perhaps somewhat stereotypically I tend to go for the Political science books first and try to get round to reading the others later if I have time. However this time round I read this book as one of the first in the parcel and was not disappointed. The book is a really, really good read that combines history, travel writing, personal observations and politics brilliantly. Although it is from a first person perspective Meckfessel makes many pertinent points about the social, economic and political context of the Balkans and has an insightful outlook on the use of ethnicity by its rulers. Not only that it’s amazing reading about his travels through the region and his interaction with the people there, reinforcing the fact that politics and economics is about human face to face relationships, not abstractions. As such this book comes highly recommended, though after a bit you might start wishing for him to hang out with people other than punks. You might also start wishing that you could shed some of the ties keeping you where you are and want to do the same thing. Great book.

Anonymous :: May 21 2010, 09:35 AM

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