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.
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 Juric 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.
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)