Damages is an epic coming of age tale, which happens to be true

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BOOK REVIEW

Damages begins with one man’s journey home to what was once Yugoslavia to bury his adoptive father, only to learn his adoptive mother is also dying. As Bazhe ponders feelings of relief to be free of the abusive Communist party official he’d called his father, the reader is drawn into his past amidst the breathtaking landscapes of a disintegrating Yugoslavia. Damages documents his search for his sexual identity – through his time at the College of National Security where he refused to conform and suffered for it, to his time spent living in Turkey as a tranvestite on the arm of a wealthy man – all while his country, Yugoslavia, heaved with nationalism, xenophobia, religious fundamentalism, and of course, homophobia. 

Bazhe’s journey takes us through it all in flashbacks as he cares for one dying mother while initiating the search for his other one.