Tag: Sara Nović

Girl at War by Sara Nović

Posted September 15, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

Girl at War by Sara NovićTitle: Girl At War (Goodreads)
Author: Sara Nović
Published: Little Brown and Company, 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Ana Jurić is a carefree young girl, running and playing through the streets of Croatia’s capital city Zagreb. This was the summer of 1991, and this is the summer that will change everything, not just for Ana, but also for all of Croatia. The country has declared its independence from Yugoslavia, which has sparked civil unrest and quickly became the Croatian War of Independence. Girl at War tells the story of Ana as a ten-year-old in 1991 and then ten years later while living in New York City.

The Croatian War of Independence lasted from 1991 to 1995, between the Croat forces local to the government and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). This war started when the Croatian government declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The majority of Croatians wanted to become a sovereign state, but Serbs remained loyal to Serbia’s wish to remain apart of Yugoslavia. This cost Croatia between 6,000 – 8,000 soldiers and almost as many citizens were killed (or missing) during the conflict as well. However they estimate about 220,000 people were displaced during this period.

Girl at War is a coming of age story of a girl living through the crumbling soviet state and trying to move on. She founds herself in New York City when 9/11 happens, which forces her to confront her past and deal with the part of her life she has tried to bury. Sara Nović’s debut novel is a perfect novel, reminding me of books like A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra and All That is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon. This is an unflinching look at a crumbling Yugoslavia and a country unsure of their future.

This is a heart-breaking debut, that was flawlessly executed, many people might be familiar with my love for novels set in a crumbling soviet state and this was my chance to explore the history of Yugoslavia. I hope there will be many more novels like this released in the future, and I am eagerly anticipating the next Girl at War as well as a new novel by Sara Nović. There is not much about Nović to be found online, but I suspect some autobiographical elements within this novel because the emotions just felt too real. Do you know any other books similar to this that I might enjoy?