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Publication Date

Spring 2011

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Cathleen Miller


Balkans, former Yugoslavia, identity, U.S. immigration, war

Subject Areas



Residence is a novel about enduring yet often invisible consequences of war and one young woman's journey to overcome them. On the surface, Mila is on a quest to find a way to stay in the United States, the country which had offered her a sense of stability and safety she had sorely lacked in her life. In the process, however, she comes face to face with the tumultuous past she has tried to repress: her idyllic childhood in Lika (prior to 1995 a predominantly Serb region of Croatia), the political breakup of her country and the ensuing civil war, the massive exodus of Serbs from Croatia in the summer of 1995, the alienation of life as a refugee, and yet another outbreak of violence, the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia. Through her friendship with a Serb-American blues musician, Mila comes to understand that her single-minded focus on remaking herself as "an ordinary American" might have obscured a much greater need - the need to heal.