316 pages
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GIRL AT WAR

BY SARA NOVIC

316 pages

Some of us will recall the relentless headlines of war torn Yugoslavia in the early ‘90s that rumbled on for nearly a decade. We couldn’t ignore the troubles and the horrific reporting of genocide, bombings, UN intervention and the ongoing utter devastation for civilians caught up in the crossfire.  But we kept watching and reading - sometimes immune to the human impact on the Yugoslavian people. 

 

And whilst it’s an incredible delight to think of Croatia and the Balkans as an attractive holiday destination, and good enough for the Beckhams and the MIC (Made In Chelsea) clan, there is still a place for this novel… ‘lest we forget’.

 

Girl At War takes the reader on a journey of a young exiled survivor who is a twenty-something student living in America looking back at her 10 year old self as a female child soldier in Croatia. Sara Novic’s debut novel sets a powerful and punchy pace and has an urgent narrative that demands you to read on so don’t be surprised at how quickly you follow her story and the impact on those she loves.  

 

The novel has been criticised for not being historically accurate in parts and not strictly credible in others.  It does feel a bit clumsy (stylistically trying too hard) but succeeds in unleashing lots of interesting discussion around broken lives, religious wars and grief in exile - all topical and relevant for bookclubbers.

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