How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic was the last book I love love loved. It’s explosive, a text that’s sinewy and daring. It tears open the marks left on the narrator during the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 90s. The chapters are introduced Twain-style–like this one called, “How sweet dark red is, how many oxen you need to pull down a wall, why Kraljevic Marko’s horse is related to Superman, and how war can come to a party.” The book’s a brilliant debut for Stanisic. He creates a sprawling narrative built of equally expansive sentences. There’s this, for instance: “That just-a-moment had hardly died away before Father turned and Hemingwayed Bobuljub so forcefully that the tobacconist was sent flying against the bookshelves. Or this: “Soldiers on the porches of buildings, soldiers behind sandbags, soldiers in bars acting as landlords and guests combined.” Plus, Daniel Handler is on the cover on a beach in a yellow shirt and a black suit playing an accordion.