Original publication date: 2009
My edition: 2010 (Harper)
How I acquired my copy: ARC through the Amazon Vine program
Set in 1956 in Cyprus during one of the “small wars” that the British fought after World War II, this novel focuses on the story of Hal Treherne, a major in the British army who is posted to Cyprus. His wife and their two small daughters join him there. Amid the violence and fighting against EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kypriou Agonistou), Hal and Clara find that their relationship suffers.
It’s very difficult to review a novel such as this one. Small Wars is a character-driven novel. It’s an intriguing look at the war a war, even a small one, can have such a strong psychological impact on someone who is conditioned to withstand it. The novel is often bleak; danger and even death are imminent in this novel. And yet the military action is such a strong contrast to the activities of the British colonists (their club in Nicosia and life on the military base, for example). This novel is a beautiful evocation of a time and place. It’s an emotionally draining read; and while I would have liked for the ending of the book to be less drawn-out, I really enjoyed this novel. I’m looking forward to reading more from Sadie Jones, especially her first novel, The Outcast.
At the end of the book, Sadie Jones lists a website on the “small wars” that the British fought in the last half of the 20th century: britainssmallwars.com. It’s an excellent introduction to the time period for someone who doesn’t know much about it.
Also reviewed by: An Adventure in Reading, S. Krishna's Books