In the Camp


“Detachment of hard-breathing Tartars began to arrive more frequently....” That’s the way this story begins. It is published in 1922 as one of Andrić’s stories on Bosnia under the Turkish rule. It is rather interesting considering the main character Mula Jusuf, an eccentric and perverted man. Jusuf comes from Jedrene, finished his schooling in Istanbul, and used to work in Sarajevo where he came into conflict with prominent townsmen. That’s why pasha took him in service, in order to tease those respectful men from Sarajevo. He is one of Andrić’s aggressors, like Mustafa Madžar, a variation on the theme of an individual who inflicts suffering in the context of the systematic violence of an army. Mula Jusuf is a man with an obscure history of implication in uninvestigated acts of violence. He does not dominate the story in which he appears but remains a sinister presence in the background until the end, when he is given the task of taking a young Turkish woman, dispossessed by the war, back to her father. The pattern of his vicious behavior then reasserts itself. Alone with the woman, he forces her to strip and eventually stabs her to death.