Girl at War
A NovelBook - 2015
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.
Advance praise for Girl at War
"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 and Asia's Cauldron
"Nović'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 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)
"With piercing clarity and devastating wit, Sara Nović traces the enduring fallout of a childhood interrupted by conflict. Girl at War is a deeply affecting meditation on identity and memory, loss and survival, and what it means to feel at home in the world." -Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes
"Nović writes with ruthless understatement not only about a modern city subjected to primitive horrors, but about young Ana's subsequent war against the American urge to forget. Sentence after perfectly weighted sentence lands with the sound of a gavel. The first fifty pages might be the best fifty pages you read this year." -Jonathan Dee, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Privileges and A Thousand Pardons
From Library Staff
Sara Novic’s debut is an unsentimental but moving story of a childhood disrupted by war and the scars that endure. 10-year-old Ana Juric is living in Zagreb with her family when the Balkan Wars break out. She realizes something has changed when her uncle sends her to fetch a pack of cigarettes an... Read More »