Girl at War: A Novel

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For readers 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 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.

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
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About the author

Sara Nović is the author of the novel Girl at War, which won an American Library Association Award, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and is forthcoming in thirteen more languages. She holds an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Stockton University, a public liberal arts school in southern New Jersey. She lives in Philadelphia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
May 12, 2015
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780812996357
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / War & Military
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Anna Hope’s brilliant debut unfolds over the course of five days, as three women must deal with the aftershocks of World War I and its impact on the men in their lives.
 
Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep. 2) Ritual for the dead. 3) Consequence or aftermath.
 
London, 1920. The city prepares to observe the two-year anniversary of Armistice Day with the burial of the unknown soldier. Many are still haunted by the war: Hettie, a dance instructress, lives at home with her mother and her brother, who is mute after his return from combat. One night Hettie meets a wealthy, educated man and finds herself smitten with him. But there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach. . . . Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange, through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, she looks for solace in her adored brother, who has not been the same since he returned from the front. . . . Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door, seemingly with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out-of-work veterans. But when he utters the name of her son, Ada is jolted to the core.
 
The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.

Advance praise for Wake
 
“Hope’s unblinking prose is reminiscent of Vera Brittain’s classic memoir Testament of Youth in its depiction of the social and emotional fallout, particularly on women, of the Great War. . . . Hope reaches beyond the higher echelons of society to women of different social classes, all linked by their reluctance to bid goodbye to the world the conflict has shattered.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Wake is a tender and timely novel, full of compassion and quiet insight. The author gives us a moving and original glimpse into the haunted peace after the Great War, her characters drawn by the gravity of the unmarked, the unknown, and perhaps, finally, the unhoped for.”—Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee
 
“Wake is a compelling and emotionally charged debut about the painful aftermath of war and the ways—small, brave, or commonplace—in which we keep ourselves going. It touches feelings we know, and settings—dance halls, war fronts, queues outside the grocer’s—that we don’t. I loved it.”—Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
 
“Wake is powerful and humane, a novel that charms and beguiles. Anna Hope’s characters are so real, flawed, and searching, and her prose so natural, one almost forgets how very great a story she is telling.”—Sadie Jones, author of The Uninvited Guests
 
“Using telling detail, Hope creates a vibrant physical and emotional landscape in which her leading characters, and a sea of others, move irresistibly into the future, some having found resolution, others still in search. Fresh, confident, yet understated, Hope’s first work movingly revisits immense tragedy while also confirming her own highly promising ability.”—Kirkus Reviews
A gorgeously illustrated collection featuring inspiring immigrants from every country in the world, celebrating the incredible range of what it means to be an American

This dazzling volume brings American immigrant stories to life in short biographies written by award-winning writer Sara Nović, with charming full-color illustrations by Alison Kolesar. At a time when public debate is focused on who belongs in America, this book honors the crucial contributions of our friends and neighbors who have chosen to make this country their home.
 
Featured within are war heroes and fashion designers, Supreme Court justices and pop stars, athletes and civil rights leaders, as well as:
• the doctors who saved Ronald Reagan’s life
• the creators of iconic American products like Levi’s, Chevy cars and trucks, and Nathan’s Famous hot dogs
• the scientists who contributed to the Manhattan Project
• the architects behind landmarks of the American skyline like the World Financial Center in New York City, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the Sears Tower in Chicago
• Plus these familiar names from every walk of life:
 
Madeleine Albright • Isabel Allende • Mario Andretti • Desi Arnaz • Isaac Asimov • George Balanchine • Sergey Brin • Gisele Bündchen • Willem de Kooning • Oscar de la Renta • Marlene Dietrich • Albert Einstein • Alfred Hitchcock • Arianna Huffington • Enrique Iglesias • Iman • Grace Jones • Henry Kissinger • Mila Kunis • Hedy Lamarr • Yo-Yo Ma • Miriam Makeba • Pedro Martínez • Joni Mitchell • Sidney Poitier • Wolfgang Puck • Rihanna • Knute Rockne • M. Night Shyamalan • Gene Simmons • Nikola Tesla • the von Trapps • Elie Wiesel • Anna Wintour
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE'S JOHN LEONARD AWARD • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • San Francisco Chronicle • New York • Chicago Tribune • Kansas City Star • GQ • NPR • Christian Science Monitor • Cleveland Plain Dealer

In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content from the author.

Praise for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

“Here, in fresh, graceful prose, is a profound story that dares to be as tender as it is ghastly, a story about desperate lives in a remote land that will quickly seem impossibly close and important. . . . I haven’t been so overwhelmed by a novel in years. At the risk of raising your expectations too high, I have to say you simply must read this book.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post

“Extraordinary . . . a 21st century War and Peace . . . Marra seems to derive his astral calm in the face of catastrophe directly from Tolstoy.”—Madison Smartt Bell, New York Times Book Review

“Ambitious and intellectually restless . . . [Marra is] a lover not a fighter, a prose writer who resembles the Joseph Heller of Catch-22 and the Jonathan Safran Foer of Everything Is Illuminated.”—Dwight Garner, New York Times
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