Croatia with Girl at War

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“Though I hadn’t told the professor anything about myself, he seemed to know I was not at home in the world, and so he lent me books–Kundera and Conrad and Levi and a host of other displaced person.”–Ana Juric, Girl at War

  • Here’s what happens:
    • This is a fresh, raw account of a war our side of the globe paid little attention to, as Ana sharply points out. The story starts out with how the Yugoslavian Civil War shaped a young Croatian girl’s life, and transforms into a brilliant coming of age story as she comes to terms with who she is, where’s she from, and what’s happened to her.
  • It’s good because:
    • Novic’s writing is concise and important, imparting the severity of this tale with heartbreaking and sparse details. This story is set apart from many accounts of young girls caught in the midst of war because it doesn’t end when the tanks roll out of her homeland. This is as much a story of reconciliation and recovery, and the bulk of the novel is Ana coping with her experience as a survivor and making amends with the country she fled.
  • Read if:
    • The Amazon synopsis of this book says it will delight fans of All the Light We Cannot See, and while I can certainly see similarities between the two, this book reminded me more of Between Shades of Gray. It may be because both stories are set in the Baltic region, but it’s also because both are narrated by strong, young women who tell the story with naiveté and perseverance. I hadn’t read a book I’d torn through in two days in a very long time–both due to how busy I’ve been, but also because I hadn’t loved any of my recent reads–but this book was powerful and vivid and kept me spellbound.

Up next: Sri Lank with Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore!

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