Monday, 28 September 2009

Book of the Week - Sadie Jones, Small Wars

I'm back to books after a week off, and I would like to recommend Sadie Jones second novel Small Wars. Jones was raised in London, the daughter of Evan Jones,a Jamaican-born poet and scriptwriter and Joanna Jones, an actor. She lived in Paris as a young woman, worked as a waitress and wrote four unproduced scripts and a play, among other things, before her debut novel, The Outcast was published. It won the First Novel award in the 2008 Costa Book Awards and has been translated into several languages. Small Wars is set in Cyprus in 1957, but inspired by the current war in Afghanistan. Her screenplay for a movie version of The Outcast has also been completed. She lives in Notting Hill with her husband, the architect Tim Boyd, and their two children. Jones is an emotionally intelligent writer, and both of her novels have been very well received, although print runs are likely to be high and the books are both easily obtainable.

"Hal Treherne is a young and dedicated soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Impatient to see action, his other deep commitment is to Clara, who sustains him as he rises through the ranks. When Hal is transferred to the Mediterranean, Clara, now his wife, and their baby daughters join him. But Cyprus is no 'sunshine posting', and the island is in the heat of the Emergency: the British are defending the colony against Cypriots - schoolboys and armed guerrillas alike - battling for enosis, union with Greece. The skirmishes are far from glorious and operations often rough and bloody. Still, in serving his country and leading his men, Hal has a taste of triumph. Clara shares his sense of duty. She must settle down, make no fuss, smile. But action changes Hal, and Clara becomes fearful - of the lethal tit-for-tat beyond the army base, and her increasingly distant husband. The atrocities Hal is drawn into take him further from Clara; a betrayal that is only part of the shocking personal crisis to come. The prizewinning and bestselling author of "The Outcast" returns with an emotionally powerful portrait of a marriage in extremis and a world-view in question. Sadie Jones has produced a passionate, gut-wrenching and brilliantly researched depiction of a 'small war' with devastating consequences; and in doing so, raises important questions that resonate profoundly today."

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