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Extended Audio Sample Girl at War: A Novel Audiobook, by Sara Nović Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sara Nović Narrator: Julia Whelan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2015 ISBN: 9781101914120
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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

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.


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

“Gripping . . . Nović, in tender and eloquent prose, explores the challenge of how to live even after one has survived.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Powerful and vividly wrought . . . Nović writes about horrors with an elegant understatement. In cool, accomplished sentences, we are met with the gravity, brutality and even the mundaneness of war and loss as well as the enduring capacity to live.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Intimate and immense . . . a writer whose own gravity and talent anchor this novel.”The New York Times

“An important and profoundly moving reading experience.”—The National

“Remarkable.”—Julia Glass, The Boston Globe

“[A] powerful, gorgeous debut novel.”—Adam Johnson, The Week

“An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual . . . a writer working with deep reserves of talent, heart, and mind.”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • [A] gripping debut novel . . . [Sara] Nović, in tender and eloquent prose, explores the challenge of how to live even after one has survived. O: The Oprah Magazine
  • Powerful and vividly wrought . . . Nović writes about horrors with an elegant understatement. In cool, accomplished sentences, we are met with the gravity, brutality and even the mundaneness of war and loss as well as the enduring capacity to live. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Intimate and immense . . . [Nović is] a writer whose own gravity and talent anchor this novel. The New York Times
  • Sara Nović’s powerful debut novel . . . is an important and profoundly moving reading experience. . . . It will be interesting to see if another novelist, particularly a first-time novelist, can match Nović’s bravura, gut-punching opening section. . . . Girl at War is a superb exploration of conflict and its aftermath. The National
  • Astonishing . . . Girl at War is an extraordinarily poised and potent debut novel, a story about grief and exile, memory and identity, and the redemptive power of love. Financial Times
  • Remarkable. Julia Glass, The Boston Globe
  • [A] powerful, gorgeous debut novel. Adam Johnson, The Week
  • One of this year’s most discussed debuts . . . What makes [Girl at War] unique is that it’s not concerned with unmasking the horrors of war, as many have repeatedly done. Instead, this book is an exploration of how humans grow, prosper and move on from unthinkable times. Paste
  • Nović’s important debut brings painfully home the jarring fact that what happens in today’s headlines on a daily basis—the atrocities of wars in Africa and the Mideast—is neither new nor even particularly the worst that humankind can commit. Take it from ten-year-old Ana Jurić, conscripted into the Yugoslav civil war in the early 1990s by the bad luck of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. . . . . As Nović gradually reveals, you can take the girl out of the war zone, but you can’t take the war zone out of the girl. By the time Ana becomes a student at a New York university, all that violence has been bottled up inside her head for a decade. Thanks to Nović’s considerable skill, Ana’s return visit to her homeland and her past is nearly as cathartic for the reader as it is for Ana. Booklist (starred review)
  • Understated, self-assured . . . The tutelary spirits of W. G. Sebald and Rebecca West hover over the proceedings. . . . Elegiac, and understandably if unrelievedly so, with a matter-of-factness about death and uprootedness. A promising start. Kirkus Reviews
  • [A] smart and insightful debut, which will please fans of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena or the essays of Aleksander Hemon . . . [Nović] ably conveys Ana’s plight, torn between two cultures and unable to feel at home in either one. BookPage
  • We know the broad outlines of the terrible shattering of the Balkans in the early 1990s, but the essence of war is in the details, and Croatian-born Nović’s debut novel delivers a finely honed sense of what the bloodshed really meant for those who withstood it. . . . Nović’s heartbreaking book is all the more effective for its use of personal rather than sensational detail and will be embraced by a wide range of readers. Library Journal
  • Set against the backdrop of the Bosnian Croat war, this vivid debut recalls Half of a Yellow Sun. Main character Ana’s journey from a ten-year-old tomboy to young woman will leave you reeling. Stylist (U.K.)
  • An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual, Girl at War is a remarkable debut by a writer working with deep reserves of talent, heart, and mind. Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story
     
  • Intimate, crushingly brutal, and beautiful at once, Girl at War is the work of someone far more mature than her years. It constitutes signal proof that even great history is insufficient to tell the story of the twentieth century in Europe: Great fiction like this book is required, too. Robert D. Kaplan, author of Balkan Ghosts and Asia’s Cauldron
  • A breathtaking debut. With piercing clarity and devastating wit, Nović traces the enduring fallout of a childhood interrupted by conflict. Girl at War is an unforgettable, deeply affecting meditation on identity and memory, loss and survival, and what it means to feel at home in the world. Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes
  • Girl at War depicts the still-fresh nightmare of the Yugoslavian civil war, survived by a girl much too young to know all she knows. Sara Nović writes with ruthless understatement not only about a modern city subjected to primitive horrors, but about young Ana’s subsequent war against the American urge to forget. Sentence after perfectly weighted sentence lands with the sound of a gavel. The first fifty pages might be the best fifty pages you read this year. Jonathan Dee, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Privileges and A Thousand Pardons
     
  • Sara Nović isn’t here to play games. Her debut novel, Girl at War, serves as the announcement of an audacious talent. Great war stories are engaging and rough and honest, and Nović’s book is certainly all three. But it’s the fact that all this war is happening to a child that makes this book singular and special. You’ll hold tight to this book as if you were going to protect the young girl at its center—but come to find out, she’s the one with all the courage and all the strength. Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver
  • Girl at War is a harrowing, unforgettable novel. From the devastation of the Yugoslavian civil war, Sara Nović has wrought a deeply moving and necessary story of exile, family, and memory; a prayer over the unquiet graves of public and private trauma. Nović’s prose is so assured and wise that you’ll think this must be her tenth book rather than her first one, but indeed this is a debut—a major, unmissable debut. Justin Taylor, author of Flings
  • Sara Nović is a brilliant storyteller with a large, generous heart—a bright new star in the literary firmament. And Girl at War is a haunting, chilling, and inspiring tale of a young woman’s coming of age in the shadow of war. It is as gorgeously crafted and compelling as it is moving, and there is a tenderness here, a sense of how exile—both physical and emotional—can shape our destinies, and of how friendship and love can allow us to survive and thrive. Jay Neugeboren, author of Imagining Robert and The Stolen Jew
  • 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
  • A shattering debut . . . 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
  • “An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual.”

    Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Intimate, crushingly brutal, and beautiful…Proof that even great history is insufficient to tell the story of the twentieth century in Europe: great fiction like this book is required, too.”

    Robert D. Kaplan, New York Times bestselling author

  • “[A] gripping debut novel…Nović, in tender and eloquent prose, explores the challenge of how to live even after one has survived.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Sara Novic’s outstanding first novel…Girl at War performs the miracle of making the stories of broken lives in a distant country feel as large and universal as myth. It is a brutal novel, but a beautiful one.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “As Nović gradually reveals, you can take the girl out of the war zone, but you can’t take the war zone out of the girl…Thanks to Nović’s considerable skill, Ana’s return visit to her homeland and her past is nearly as cathartic for the reader as it is for Ana.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Using concrete details both large and small, Nović captures the searing pain of war and its aftermath with poignant clarity.”

    BookPage

  • “The essence of war is in the details, and Croatian-born Nović’s debut novel delivers a finely honed sense of what the bloodshed really meant for those who withstood it…Nović’s heartbreaking book is all the more effective for its use of personal rather than sensational detail and will be embraced by a wide range of readers.”

    Library Journal

  • “Understated, self-assured…Elegiac, and understandably if unrelievedly so, with a matter-of-factness about death and uprootedness.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “What happens when war explodes around a child? Sara Novic’s debut novel is told from the point of view of ten-year-old Ana Juric, and Julia Whelan’s heartbreaking performance of it leaves no doubt about the answer…Whelan’s reading reflects the nail-biting tension. Her Balkan accents feel right, and her character voice for Ana ages appropriately when the story jumps ahead a decade to America…Whelan’s understated, poignant delivery ensures that listeners won’t soon forget this coming-of-age story.

    AudioFile

  • Girl at War depicts the still-fresh nightmare of the Yugoslavian civil war, survived by a girl much too young to know all she knows. Sara Nović writes with ruthless understatement not only about a modern city subjected to primitive horrors, but about young Ana’s subsequent war against the American urge to forget. Sentence after perfectly weighted sentence lands with the sound of a gavel.”

    Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges

  • “With piercing clarity and devastating wit, Sara Nović traces the enduring fallout of a childhood interrupted by conflict. Girl at War is a deeply affecting meditation on identity and memory, loss and survival, and what it means to feel at home in the world.”

    Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel

  • A BookPage Top Pick for May 2015 in Debut Fiction
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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About the Author

Sara Novic has lived in the United States and Croatia. She graduated from the MFA program at Columbia University, where she studied fiction and translation. She is the fiction editor at Blunderbuss Magazine and teaches writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lives in Queens, New York.

About the Narrator

Julia Whelan, winner of eighteen AudioFile Earphones Awards, won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Romance Narration in 2013 and was twice a finalist for an Audie in 2015. She is a former child actor who has appeared in multiple films and television shows, most notably ABC’s Once and Again. After receiving her college degree, she returned to the film industry and is also a writer. Her audiobook credits include memoir, nonfiction, romance, supernatural thrillers, young adult, and adult fiction.