For fans 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.
Zagreb, 1991. Ana Jurić is a carefree 10-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 Novic 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.
"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 Super Sad True Love Story and Little Failure)
"Intimate, crushingly brutal, and beautiful, Girl at War is the work of someone far more mature than her years. It constitutes signal proof that even great history is insufficient to tell the story of the twentieth century in Europe: Great fiction like this book is required, too." (Robert D. Kaplan, author of Balkan Ghosts andAsia's Cauldron)
"Novic's important debut brings painfully home the jarring fact that what happens in today's headlines on a daily basis - the atrocities of wars in Africa and the Mideast - is neither new nor even particularly the worst that humankind can commit.... Thanks to Novic'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)
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A perfectly timed departure from the predictable template.
On Growing up and Finding Home