... autobiographical without ever seeming confessional or succumbing to the egocentrism of so much autofiction ... Though it deals with tragedy, My Heart is never depressing, partly because of the beauty of the language—expertly translated from the Bosnian by Celia Hawkesworth—and partly because of its depth and honesty of emotion, its intelligence and generosity of spirit, and the precision and originality of Mehmedinovic’s observations ... powerful, at once profound and charming[.]
When a writer works from the heart, he or she invites readers into a communion. In the autobiographical novel My Heart, the Bosnian writer Semezdin Mehmedinović offers us an opportunity for fellowship with his beloved family. He works within his text like a stonemason, assembling small narrative fragments into cairns that outline a heartfelt landscape ... With masterful craft, Mehmedinović assembles his mosaic, tight enough to tell the tales yet loose enough to contain the diversity of his thought ... His descriptions of the love shared between husband and wife are profound ... Too often, we are glib about the power of love. We want to think of it as a romantic notion of idyll and pleasure. In the abstract, it is an easy thing to honor. Mehmedinović brings us back to Earth, reminding us that it’s not ethereal; love is an essential element of the life system.
The overall effect is of a camera sharpening: the background noise gives way to a crisp foreground, the local details of love and relationships ... This slight yet major existential novel...is itself a kind of letter, a record of subtle, intimate moments ... Mehmedinović writes with the freedom of a person who assumes he won’t be read widely. Loosely he threads scenes, sometimes embellishing them with his own scribbly illustrations, which are included without preamble or justification. It feels, in other words, like a genuine piece of art, not a product to be capitalized on ... My Heart deserves to be read widely, and closely. Each sentence is smooth and precise, cerebral but never grandiose. In Mehmedinović’s novel, life and death emerge most vibrantly alongside one another.