A Thousand Cranes

A thousand cranes is one of the widely read novels for children and young adults, by Olivera Jelkić. It was written in 1998. It was inspired by a real event in her law practice. When there was no more help from law, the authoress called the Muses for help and turned the entire event into a novel. The event itself is not the essence, the boy Neven’s fate, but the fact that organ trade exists, the fact it doesn’t happen only to someone else, but also to the people we know, who live in the neighborhood, and that no one is immune to evil.

The Balkan region was always a hot spot and prone to wars and adversities. The name itself “Bal-kans” is composed of Turkish words “blood-honey”. All the countries in the region went through transition, and faced wars, misery, evil. The children from the Balkans and the Ex YU region grew up faster, faced with a multitude of problems, which the children in stable areas are unfamiliar with.
On the case of boy Neven, who is seriously ill, and who is, at the same time, sensible and intelligent, the authoress represents the world of the outcast, the world of those branded by misfortune, while human misunderstanding and carelessness only strengthen that brand.

The legend about “A thousand cranes” is artfully woven into the story, which says that if you fold 1000 origami cranes, your wish will be fulfilled.
The boy Neven believes in the legend and keeps folding cranes, wishing to get well. He knows that it is impossible, so he gifts the 1000th crane to a girl Myrtle, who lost the power of speech in war.

The novel had many editions. It raised many issues and received many responses. The Muses proved to be a mighty weapon. The novel was awarded „Dositejevo pero“ award in 1999. Precisely at the time of the bombing of the region.