high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale
high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale__front

Description

Product Description

For readers of The Tiger’s Wife and All the Light We Cannot See comes a powerful debut novel about a girl’s coming of age—and how her sense of family, friendship, love, and belonging is profoundly shaped by war.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BOOKPAGE, BOOKLIST, AND ELECTRIC LITERATURE • ALEX AWARD WINNER • LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST • LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION


Zagreb, 1991. Ana Jurić is a carefree ten-year-old, living with her family in a small apartment in Croatia’s capital. But that year, civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, splintering Ana’s idyllic childhood. Daily life is altered by food rations and air raid drills, and soccer matches are replaced by sniper fire. Neighbors grow suspicious of one another, and Ana’s sense of safety starts to fray. When the war arrives at her doorstep, Ana must find her way in a dangerous world.

New York, 2001. Ana is now a college student in Manhattan. Though she’s tried to move on from her past, she can’t escape her memories of war—secrets she keeps even from those closest to her. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, Ana returns to Croatia after a decade away, hoping to make peace with the place she once called home. As she faces her ghosts, she must come to terms with her country’s difficult history and the events that interrupted her childhood years before.

Moving back and forth through time, Girl at War is an honest, generous, brilliantly written novel that illuminates how history shapes the individual. Sara Nović fearlessly shows the impact of war on one young girl—and its legacy on all of us. It’s a debut by a writer who has stared into recent history to find a story that continues to resonate today.

Praise for Girl at War

“Outstanding . . . Girl at War performs the miracle of making the stories of broken lives in a distant country feel as large and universal as myth.” The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

“[An] old-fashioned page-turner that will demand all of the reader’s attention, happily given. A debut novel that astonishes.” Vanity Fair

“Shattering . . . The book begins with what deserves to become one of contemporary literature’s more memorable opening lines. The sentences that follow are equally as lyrical as a folk lament and as taut as metal wire wrapped through an electrified fence.” USA Today

Review

“Outstanding . . . Girl at War performs the miracle of making the stories of broken lives in a distant country feel as large and universal as myth.” The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

“[An] old-fashioned page-turner that will demand all of the reader’s attention, happily given. A debut novel that astonishes.” Vanity Fair

“A shattering debut . . . The book begins with what deserves to become one of contemporary literature’s more memorable opening lines. The sentences that follow are equally as lyrical as a folk lament and as taut as metal wire wrapped through an electrified fence.” USA Today

“[A] gripping debut novel . . . [Sara] Nović, in tender and eloquent prose, explores the challenge of how to live even after one has survived.”— O: The Oprah Magazine

“Powerful and vividly wrought . . . Nović writes about horrors with an elegant understatement. In cool, accomplished sentences, we are met with the gravity, brutality and even the mundaneness of war and loss as well as the enduring capacity to live.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Intimate and immense . . . [Nović is] a writer whose own gravity and talent anchor this novel.” The New York Times

“Sara Nović’s powerful debut novel . . . is an important and profoundly moving reading experience. . . . It will be interesting to see if another novelist, particularly a first-time novelist, can match Nović’s bravura, gut-punching opening section. . . .  Girl at War is a superb exploration of conflict and its aftermath.” The National

“Astonishing . . .  Girl at War is an extraordinarily poised and potent debut novel, a story about grief and exile, memory and identity, and the redemptive power of love.” Financial Times

“Remarkable.” —Julia Glass, The Boston Globe

“[A] powerful, gorgeous debut novel.” —Adam Johnson, The Week

“One of this year’s most discussed debuts . . . What makes [ Girl at War] unique is that it’s not concerned with unmasking the horrors of war, as many have repeatedly done. Instead, this book is an exploration of how humans grow, prosper and move on from unthinkable times.” Paste

“As Nović gradually reveals, you can take the girl out of the war zone, but you can’t take the war zone out of the girl. By the time Ana becomes a student at a New York university, all that violence has been bottled up inside her head for a decade. Thanks to Nović’s considerable skill, Ana’s return visit to her homeland and her past is nearly as cathartic for the reader as it is for Ana.” Booklist (starred review)

“An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual, Girl at War is a remarkable debut by a writer working with deep reserves of talent, heart, and mind.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story

About the Author

Sara Nović is the author of the novel  Girl at War, which won an American Library Association Award, was a  Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and is forthcoming in thirteen more languages. She holds an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Stockton University, a public liberal arts school in southern New Jersey. She lives in Philadelphia.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I

They Both Fell

1

The war in Zagreb began over a pack of cigarettes. There had been tensions beforehand, rumors of disturbances in other towns whispered above my head, but no explosions, nothing outright. Caught between the mountains, Zagreb sweltered in the summer, and most people abandoned the city for the coast during the hottest months. For as long as I could remember my family had vacationed with my godparents in a fishing village down south. But the Serbs had blocked the roads to the sea, at least that’s what everyone was saying, so for the first time in my life we spent the summer inland.

Everything in the city was clammy, doorknobs and train handrails slick with other people’s sweat, the air heavy with the smell of yesterday’s lunch. We took cold showers and walked around the flat in our underwear. Under the run of cool water I imagined my skin sizzling, steam rising from it. At night we lay atop our sheets, awaiting fitful sleep and fever dreams.

I turned ten in the last week of August, a celebration marked by a soggy cake and eclipsed by heat and disquiet. My parents invited their best friends—my godparents, Petar and Marina—over for dinner that weekend. The house where we usually stayed the summers belonged to Petar’s grandfather. My mother’s break from teaching allowed us three months of vacation—my father taking a train, meeting us later—and the five of us would live there together on the cliffs along the Adriatic. Now that we were landlocked, the weekend dinners had become an anxious charade of normalcy.

Before Petar and Marina arrived I argued with my mother about putting on clothes.

“You’re not an animal, Ana. You’ll wear shorts to dinner or you’ll get nothing.”

“In Tiska I only wear my swimsuit bottoms anyway,” I said, but my mother gave me a look and I got dressed.

That night the adults were engaging in their regular debate about exactly how long they’d known each other. They had been friends since before they were my age, they liked to say, no matter how old I was, and after the better part of an hour and a bottle of FeraVino they’d usually leave it at that. Petar and Marina had no children for me to play with, so I sat at the table holding my baby sister and listening to them vie for the farthest-reaching memory. Rahela was only eight months old and had never seen the coast, so I talked to her about the sea and our little boat, and she smiled when I made fish faces at her.

After we ate, Petar called me over and handed me a fistful of dinar. “Let’s see if you can beat your record,” he said. It was a game between us—I would run to the store to buy his cigarettes and he would time me. If I beat my record he’d let me keep a few dinar from the change. I stuffed the money in the pocket of my cutoffs and took off down the nine flights of stairs.

I was sure I was about to set a new record. I’d perfected my route, knew when to hug the curves around buildings and avoid the bumps in the side streets. I passed the house with the big orange beware of dog sign (though no dog ever lived there that I could remember), jumped over a set of cement steps, and veered away from the dumpsters. Under a concrete archway that always smelled like piss, I held my breath and sped into the open city. I skirted the biggest pothole in front of the bar frequented by the daytime drinkers, slowing only slightly as I came upon the old man at his folding table hawking stolen chocolates. The newsstand kiosk’s red awning shifted in a rare breeze, signaling me like a finish line flag.

I put my elbows on the counter to get the clerk’s attention. Mr. Petrović knew me and knew what I wanted, but today his smile looked more like a smirk.

“Do you want Serbian cigarettes or Croatian ones?” The way he stressed the two nationalities sounded unnatural. I had heard people on the news talking about Serbs and Croats this way because of the fighting in the villages, but no one had ever said anything to me directly. And I didn’t want to buy the wrong kind of cigarettes.

“Can I have the ones I always get, please?”

“Serbian or Croatian?”

“You know. The gold wrapper?” I tried to see around his bulk, pointing to the shelf behind him. But he just laughed and waved to another customer, who sneered at me.

“Hey!” I tried to get the clerk’s attention back. He ignored me and made change for the next man in line. I’d already lost the game, but I ran home as fast as I could anyway.

“Mr. Petrović wanted me to pick Serbian or Croatian cigarettes,” I told Petar. “I didn’t know the answer and he wouldn’t give me any. I’m sorry.”

My parents exchanged looks and Petar motioned for me to sit on his lap. He was tall—taller than my father—and flushed from the heat and wine. I climbed up on his wide thigh.

“It’s okay,” he said, patting his stomach. “I’m too full for cigarettes anyway.” I pulled the money from my shorts and relinquished it. He pressed a few dinar coins into my palm.

“But I didn’t win.”

“Yes,” he said. “But today that’s not your fault.”

That night my father came into the living room, where I slept, and sat down on the bench of the old upright piano. We’d inherited the piano from an aunt of Petar’s—he and Marina didn’t have space for it—but we couldn’t afford to have it tuned, and the first octave was so flat all the keys gave out the same tired tone. I heard my father pressing the foot pedals down in rhythm with the habitual nervous jiggle of his leg, but he didn’t touch the keys. After a while he got up and came to sit on the armrest of the couch, where I lay. Soon we were going to buy a mattress.

“Ana? You awake?”

I tried to open my eyes, felt them flitting beneath the lids.

“Awake,” I managed.

“Filter 160s. They’re Croatian. So you know for next time.”

“Filter 160s,” I said, committing it to memory.

My father kissed my forehead and said good night, but I felt him in the doorway moments later, his body blocking out the kitchen lamplight.

“If I’d been there,” he whispered, but I wasn’t sure he was talking to me so I stayed quiet and he didn’t say anything else.

In the morning Milošević was on TV giving a speech, and when I saw him, I laughed. He had big ears and a fat red face, jowls sagging like a dejected bulldog. His accent was nasal, nothing like the gentle, throaty voice of my father. Looking angry, he hammered his fist in rhythm with his speech. He was saying something about cleansing the land, repeating it over and over. I had no idea what he was talking about, but as he spoke and pounded he got redder and redder. So I laughed, and my mother poked her head around the corner to see what was so funny.

“Turn that off.” I felt my cheeks go hot, thinking she was mad at me for laughing at what must have been an important speech. But her face softened quickly. “Go play,” she said. “Bet Luka’s already beat you to the Trg.”

My best friend, Luka, and I spent the summer biking around the town square and meeting our classmates for pickup football games. We were freckled and tan and perpetually grass-stained, and now that we were down to just a few weeks of freedom before the start of school we met even earlier and stayed out later, determined not to let any vacation go to waste. I found him along our regular bike route. We cycled side by side, Luka occasionally swinging his front tire into mine so that we’d nearly crash. It was a favorite joke of his and he laughed the whole way, but I was still thinking about Petrović. In school we’d been taught to ignore distinguishing ethnic factors, though it was easy enough to discern someone’s ancestry by their last name. Instead we were trained to regurgitate pan-Slavic slogans: “Bratstvo i Jedinstvo!” Brotherhood and Unity. But now it seemed the differences between us might be important after all. Luka’s family was originally from Bosnia, a mixed state, a confusing third category. Serbs wrote in Cyrillic and Croats in the Latin alphabet, but in Bosnia they used both, the spoken differences even more minute. I wondered if there was a special brand of Bosnian cigarettes, too, and whether Luka’s father smoked those.

When we arrived in the Trg it was crowded and I could tell something was wrong. In light of this new Serb-Croat divide, everything—including the statue of Ban Jelačić, sword drawn—now seemed a clue to the tensions I hadn’t seen coming. During World War II the ban’s sword was aimed toward the Hungarians in a defensive gesture, but afterward the Communists had removed the statue in a neutralization of nationalistic symbols. Luka and I had watched when, after the last elections, men with ropes and heavy machinery returned Jelačić to his post. Now he was facing south, toward Belgrade.

The Trg had always been a popular meeting place, but today people were swarming around the base of the statue looking frantic, milling through a snarl of trucks and tractors parked right in the cobblestoned Trg, where, on normal days, cars weren’t even allowed to drive. Baggage, shipping crates, and an assortment of free-floating housewares brimmed over the backs of flatbeds and were splayed across the square.

I thought of the gypsy camp my parents and I once passed while driving to visit my grandparents’ graves in Čakovec, caravans of wagons and trailers housing mysterious instruments and stolen children.

“They’ll pour acid in your eyes,” my mother warned when I wiggled in the pew while my father lit candles and prayed for his parents. “Little blind beggars earn three times as much as ones who can see.” I held her hand and was quiet for the rest of the day.

Luka and I dismounted our bikes and moved cautiously toward the mass of people and their belongings. But there were no bonfires or circus sideshows; there was no music—these were not the migrant people I’d seen on the outskirts of the northern villages.

The settlement was made almost entirely out of string. Ropes, twine, shoelaces, and strips of fabric of various thicknesses were strung from cars to tractors to piles of luggage in an elaborate tangle. The strings supported the sheets and blankets and bigger articles of clothing that served as makeshift tents. Luka and I stared alternately at each other and at the strangers, not knowing the words for what we were seeing, but understanding that it wasn’t good.

Candles circled the perimeter of the encampment, melting next to boxes on which someone had written “Contributions for the Refugees.” Most people who passed added something to a box, some emptying their pockets.

“Who are they?” I whispered.

“I don’t know,” Luka said. “Should we give them something?”

I took Petar’s dinar from my pocket and gave them to Luka, afraid to get too close myself. Luka had a few coins, too, and I held his bike while he put them in the box. As he leaned in I panicked, worrying that the city of string would swallow him up like the vines that come alive in horror movies. When he turned around I shoved his handlebars at him and he stumbled backward. As we rode away I felt my stomach twist into a knot I would only years later learn to call survivor’s guilt.

My classmates and I often met for football matches on the east side of the park, where the grass had fewer lumps. I was the only girl who played football, but sometimes other girls would come down to the field to jump rope and gossip.

“Why do you dress like a boy?” a pigtailed girl asked me once.

“It’s easier to play football in pants,” I told her. The real reason was that they were my neighbor’s clothes and we couldn’t afford anything else.

We began collecting stories. They started out with strings of complex relationships—my best friend’s second cousin, my uncle’s boss—and whoever kicked the ball between improvised (and ever-negotiable) goal markers got to tell their story first. An unspoken contest of gore developed, honoring whoever could more creatively describe the blown-out brains of their distant acquaintances. Stjepan’s cousins had seen a mine explode a kid’s leg, little bits of skin clinging to grooves in the sidewalk for a week afterward. Tomislav had heard of a boy who was shot in the eye by a sniper in Zagora; his eyeball had turned to liquid like a runny egg right there in front of everyone.

At home my mother paced the kitchen talking on the phone to friends in other towns, then hung out the window, passing the news to the next apartment building over. I stood close while she discussed the mounting tensions on the banks of the Danube with the women on the other side of the clothesline, absorbing as much as I could before running off to find my friends. A citywide spy network, we passed on any information we overheard, relaying stories of victims whose links to us were becoming less and less remote.

On the first day of school, our teacher took attendance and found one of our classmates missing.

“Anyone hear from Zlatko?” she said.

“Maybe he went back to Serbia, where he belongs,” said Mate, a boy I’d always found obnoxious. A few people snickered and our teacher shushed them. Beside me, Stjepan raised his hand.

“He moved,” Stjepan said.

“Moved?” Our teacher flipped through some papers on her clipboard. “Are you sure?”

“He lived in my building. Two nights ago I saw his family carrying big suitcases out to a truck. He said they had to leave before the air raids started. He said to tell everyone goodbye.” The class erupted into high-strung chatter at this news:

“What’s an air raid?”

“Who will be our goalie now?”

“Good riddance to him!”

“Shut up, Mate,” I said.

“Enough!” said our teacher. We quieted.

An air raid, she explained, was when planes flew over cities and tried to knock buildings down with bombs. She drew chalky maps denoting shelters, listed the necessities our families should bring underground with us: AM radio, water jug, flashlight, batteries for the flashlight. I didn’t understand whose planes wanted what buildings to explode, or how to tell a regular plane from a bad one, though I was happy for the reprieve from regular lessons. But soon she began to swipe at the board, inciting an angry cloud of eraser dust. She let out a sigh as if she were impatient with air raids, brushing the settling chalk away from the pleats in her skirt. We moved on to long division, and were not offered a time for asking questions.

Product information

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Videos

Help others learn more about this product by uploading a video!
Upload video
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who bought this item also bought

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
706 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

U291832
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Why are not more people talking about this book?! It is amazing!
Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2017
Unbelievable read - picked it up on whim, because I am interested in that part of the world (since I lived in Sarajevo for 2 years) and the wars that broke up Yugoslavia and this book hit all the right notes. It follows the story of Ana, a 9 year old when the Croatian War... See more
Unbelievable read - picked it up on whim, because I am interested in that part of the world (since I lived in Sarajevo for 2 years) and the wars that broke up Yugoslavia and this book hit all the right notes. It follows the story of Ana, a 9 year old when the Croatian War of Independence breaks out. Ana''s baby sister, Rahela is sick and has to be medivac''ed out of Croatia to America for kidney surgery. Its at this point the story twists and really takes off. You are flashed forward to Ana living in America at the age of 20 or 21, at college in New York City.
Despite the author having only lived in Croatia for a small period of time, she captures the feel of life there both before and after the war. It is the after the war that I''m more familiar with (having lived there in 2013 and 2014) and I was very impressed by how accurately the author gets the feel and mood of the psyche of the people who live there now, having survived a war and accompanying terrible atrocities. The way everyone seems to suffer from some form of PTSD but nothing is talked about, how the countryside continues to bear the marks of battle, how the war continues to color life.
I also liked the pace of this book, she kept it moving but still you were able to experience the tragic events as they unfolded. Novic didn''t linger on unnecessary details but gave you just enough to fill in the picture.
I wish more people knew about this book, it should be on best seller lists, despite it being a work of fiction, Novic is one of the few I''ve read who gets the feel and mood of that part of the region just right (from my experience).
Highly recommend for all, great for book clubs!
24 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Judy
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing novel of Croatia at War
Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2018
This is a promising subject, the wars in the Balkans when Yugoslavia broke into its constituent pieces. Sara Novic''s approach, the experiences of a young girl during the bombing of Zagreb, starts the novel off and works. We must disregard the fact that Zagreb got off... See more
This is a promising subject, the wars in the Balkans when Yugoslavia broke into its constituent pieces. Sara Novic''s approach, the experiences of a young girl during the bombing of Zagreb, starts the novel off and works. We must disregard the fact that Zagreb got off relatively lightly; it was Sarajevo where the bombs fell relentlessly. Alas, it''s somewhat downhill from there, especially the parts set in the United States, where most characters are wooden and lack depth. And I do so wish that we had learned more of our hero''s time as a child soldier. Now that would have been illuminating. But this part of her life is skated over and lacks flesh. What a pity. It''s a brave decision to use details of you life and the lives of your family and friends as the basis of a story but it must feel more real than I found Girl at War. Alas this first novel failed to captivate me.
12 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Charles B.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Powerful, Beautiful Book - Filled with love
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2018
I began this book at about 10pm last night, and just finished it a moment ago (330pm next day). I only put it down to sleep and once to answer some phone calls. During the phone calls, I was impatient to return to the book. It made me weep twice. The... See more
I began this book at about 10pm last night, and just finished it a moment ago (330pm next day). I only put it down to sleep and once to answer some phone calls. During the phone calls, I was impatient to return to the book.

It made me weep twice.
The author has a strong clear voice. Her story is urgent and vivid. Well told. A page turner.

At many points what i was reading made me feel how much I love my own family, not think of them or know that I love them, or miss them, but really feel my love for them, as I did when I was a child. No Book has ever had this effect on me before. So I thank the author.

The book also makes it brutally clear that peace is better than war. But not like John Lennon tried to do. This book makes the argument for real. As an American man, raised on TomCruise and Stallone movies, I knew intellectually that peace was desirable, but I never felt in bones how desirable it really was. The book put the feeling for peace into me deeply. Reading it was good for my soul.

If you are considering, buy it, and read it!
11 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Thomas J. Fitzpatrick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absolutely one of the most powerful books I''ve ever read ...
Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2016
Absolutely one of the most powerful books I''ve ever read. I shed tears through most of it. What makes this remarkable work even more impressive is that this is a debut novel by a young writer and her first language was not English. The beauty of the writing makes... See more
Absolutely one of the most powerful books I''ve ever read. I shed tears through most of it. What makes this remarkable work even more impressive is that this is a debut novel by a young writer and her first language was not English.

The beauty of the writing makes the trauma experienced by a child growing up in a war zone even more horrifying than other works on similar topics. It should be a "must read" for all those considering American foreign policy on how war effects the lives of children and how lasting those effects can remain.

I cannot express how powerful this book is and how the history it recounts will remain important and relevant not only for today, but for generations to come.
45 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Charlottekrn BookfairTop Contributor: Historical Fiction Books
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
War in Yugoslavia
Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2017
Based on the Yugoslavian war during the 1990’s, the story, captivating from the first page, is divided into four parts and moves back and forth through time. 1991: Ana leads the life normal life of a school aged girl until division comes and neighbors base... See more
Based on the Yugoslavian war during the 1990’s, the story, captivating from the first page, is divided into four parts and moves back and forth through time.
1991: Ana leads the life normal life of a school aged girl until division comes and neighbors base friendliness on accents and ethnicity. Bombings and airstrikes change the pattern of their daily lives. Food shortages, black outs, gunfire and death become the norm. On the particular day Ana’s parents seek help to save their baby daughter, Ana’s sickly sister, tragedy strikes and Ana’s life changes forever. To survive and stay alive, Ana joins bands of warrior children.
2001: Ana lives a normal life in New Jersey with her family, has a boyfriend, and is a student of English Literature in Manhattan. Ana has everything that she wants except peace in that she cannot put the war and the atrocities behind her. Ana decides to return to Croatia and confront the ghosts of the past.
The novel, descriptive and succinctly written, offers the Croatian view of the war and is the author’s first novel. The author has lived in both Croatia and the U.S. and currently resides in Queens, NY.
7 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Geezer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Enlightening Glimpse into an Overlooked Period of Human Darkness
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2018
In an age when many Westerners relate to distant wars at best in abstract terms (if at all), thousands of Europeans who experienced the horrors of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia continue to recover from its devastation. Seen through the eyes of a cosmopolitan... See more
In an age when many Westerners relate to distant wars at best in abstract terms (if at all), thousands of Europeans who experienced the horrors of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia continue to recover from its devastation. Seen through the eyes of a cosmopolitan 10-year old, this story of a very real war breaking out in a modern, well-educated society leaves the reader with an uncomfortable assortment of questions about our own humanity: why was more not done sooner to stop the genocide and to provide aid to those besieged; how safe is any society from slipping into armed conflict stemming from seemingly minor differences; how can the leading nations in the world barely notice the suffering of huge numbers of fellow human beings, and then have essentially forgotten such events within a decade or two?

Girl at War takes the reader into a perspective that is both tremendously relatable and virtually impossible to forget. Imagining the trauma that undoubtedly remains to this day just beneath the surface for the war’s survivors, but is all but invisible to most others, one begins to understand the authenticity of the sense of disconnect that the story’s central character experiences. Expect to be moved by this book- and hopefully to use it as a lesson on the fragile balance between normalcy and unmitigated hell.
3 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Brook de Campos
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Hauntingly beautiful
Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2019
This is a debut novel? Whaaaa ...? Bought it a couple of years ago as a daily deal. Kicking myself for leaving it in my to-read pile so long. This book made me google-stalk the author beyond the norms of decency. I''m hoping that the clues she dropped about her newest... See more
This is a debut novel? Whaaaa ...? Bought it a couple of years ago as a daily deal. Kicking myself for leaving it in my to-read pile so long. This book made me google-stalk the author beyond the norms of decency. I''m hoping that the clues she dropped about her newest project will translate into "novel". (She''s got a non-fiction book coming out later this year, but ... girl, please ... more novels!)

I was completely immersed in Ana''s childhood. I loved her personality and her friendship with Luka. The level of detail was perfect: the story played out like a movie in my mind. I could''ve read an entire book from that point of view. A lot of child-POV books don''t quite pull it off; this one does.

It is jarring, the mix of this idyllic childhood with war. Not our US version of newspaper-TV war, but hurry-get-to-the-shelter war. Zig-zag-when-you-run war.

-- Adult-Ana looking back: "The country was at war, but for most people the war was more an idea than an experience, and I felt something between anger and shame that Americans—that I—could sometimes ignore its impact for days at a time. ... What war meant in America was so incongruous with what had happened in Croatia—what must have been happening in Afghanistan—that it almost seemed a misuse of the word." --

I lived in Hungary for some years, and occasionally traveled to Croatia and Bosnia for work. This was in the late ''90s and early 00s. Seeing the effects of the war off the TV screen and in front of my face was sobering. Trees growing up through bombed-out buildings where laundry was hanging off a rail-less balcony. Barefoot kids jumping close to traffic, trying to sell trinkets or cigarettes. People with missing limbs. The raised, wooden sidewalks constructed all over our work sites to ferry folks safely over any live mines. The lack of those sidewalks where the locals lived. I had dinner one night with two childhood best friends who''d been on opposite sides of the war and had recently found each other again. They talked about having wondered if they were were shooting at each other during firefights.

I only saw the after. This story pulled me in and made me feel the during. That it was from a child''s point of view was heartbreaking and harsh.

The adult-Ana parts didn''t grab me quite as much, and it was there where I found myself with some "But why ..." moments. No spoilers, but I wanted more information on her and her sister''s experiences after the first part of the story. Why certain choices were made about their upbringing -- around family history, what was/wasn''t told to them, language, etc. I do, however, think the adult parts were necessary to tell this story. The effects and how she had to cope didn''t end when the war did.

As others have said, the ending was abrupt. It took me surprise -- you know, when you flip back to make sure you didn''t miss something. But actually, after reflecting, I''m okay with the ending. I think the author laid it out enough so that you get an idea of where things are going. She leaves it with some hope.

Kudos to the author on a powerful, riveting first novel. (And pleasepleaseplease write more novels. ''Kay, thanks.)
Helpful
Report
SweetPeaches
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Story! Bad Ending!
Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2019
I loved, loved, loved, loved this book. I enjoyed reading it so much, and I would have given it 5 stars had it not been for the completely unfinished ending. It literally ends................right in the middle of the story! There is an interview with the author after the... See more
I loved, loved, loved, loved this book. I enjoyed reading it so much, and I would have given it 5 stars had it not been for the completely unfinished ending. It literally ends................right in the middle of the story! There is an interview with the author after the book ends, and I was so hoping that she was going to say that there will be a sequel, but no such look! I''m so disappointed with the ending, however, the story is so, so wonderful that I still have to give it 4 stars. (Really the lack of 5 stars is just a protest because I want more!) The characters are so richly drawn, that they all start to feel like real people, and you generally start to care about them, and what happens to them. Great book!
Helpful
Report

Top reviews from other countries

Janie U
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well observed - both for the overall conflict and the individual
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2020
I''ve previously read a couple of novels based in and around this conflict but don''t know a huge amount about it. This novel seems to review well so thought I would try it. It had 316 pages, a pleasing font and regular sized chapters making the book comfortable to read. At...See more
I''ve previously read a couple of novels based in and around this conflict but don''t know a huge amount about it. This novel seems to review well so thought I would try it. It had 316 pages, a pleasing font and regular sized chapters making the book comfortable to read. At the start there are two maps showing the area pre and post conflict which is very useful as the story moves on. Using a child as the main character during the war works really well as the reader sees the innocence whilst they learn about the horrors alongside Ana (the 10 year old tomboy). Making her a tomboy adds another facet to the plot as situations can be explored from both female and male perspectives. We are moved forward in time to see how Ana''s life develops and then back again to fill in gaps and provide her with resolution. This is a very complicated conflict and focusing on one small child allows the reader a deep degree of understanding. It''s easy to engage with Ana and want her to be settled. I found the book very calming to read, finding myself able to observe the conflict and see it''s effects on the individual.
One person found this helpful
Report
AC
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Moving, beautiful prose - an insight into the Balkan war
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2018
I''ve long wanted to read a novel that dealt with this period of time in the Balkans, as I feel so underread on the subject. Like the narrator, I was a young child at the time of the events so I think this made it hot home even harder. Novic writes absolutely beautifully so...See more
I''ve long wanted to read a novel that dealt with this period of time in the Balkans, as I feel so underread on the subject. Like the narrator, I was a young child at the time of the events so I think this made it hot home even harder. Novic writes absolutely beautifully so that, despite the upsetting subject matter, it''s easy and enjoyable to read. The main and secondary characters paint a portrait of how things must have been for these people. When I ended it, I then went and read about the places and events mentioned in the book and sat on the sofa crying all night. It''s an important book. I hope to read more like it.
2 people found this helpful
Report
diane chandler
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Loved this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 19, 2017
Loved this book. Shocked and distressed by the twist early on. Very much enjoyed the writing and style. Felt some parts a little undeveloped, eg. the meeting at the UN, the actual twist itself, and the ending left me wanting somewhat. Eager to read more fiction nd...See more
Loved this book. Shocked and distressed by the twist early on. Very much enjoyed the writing and style. Felt some parts a little undeveloped, eg. the meeting at the UN, the actual twist itself, and the ending left me wanting somewhat. Eager to read more fiction nd non-fiction about this conflict, which as the narrator states at one point, was observed but basically left to flourish by the international community.
3 people found this helpful
Report
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful book! Very insightful if you are interested in ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2017
Beautiful book! Very insightful if you are interested in knowing more about the history and some facts of Serbian or Croatian war. And it can connect to much more deep situations nowadays!
Report
Girl with a book
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I loved this. Completely gripped from the start
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2017
I loved this. Completely gripped from the start, and raced through it. Well done Sara Novic for giving us all a better understanding of what a civil war in Europe can look like not in the past but (almost) now, and the impact that it would have on a child that experiences...See more
I loved this. Completely gripped from the start, and raced through it. Well done Sara Novic for giving us all a better understanding of what a civil war in Europe can look like not in the past but (almost) now, and the impact that it would have on a child that experiences it. Highly recommended.
2 people found this helpful
Report
See all reviews
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Explore similar books

Tags that will help you discover similar books. 15 tags
Results for: 
Where do clickable book tags come from?
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Pages with related products.

  • international trade

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale

high quality Girl at high quality War: high quality A Novel outlet sale