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Girl at War: A Novel Paperback – March 22, 2016
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“[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
- Item Weight : 10.2 ounces
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780812986396
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812986396
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 22, 2016)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0812986393
- Best Sellers Rank: #176,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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!
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.
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!
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.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
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.