Read this novel and savour every page

2009-11-25 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

Small Wars

Sadie Jones

Chatto & Windus

SMALL Wars is an exceptional read. It has easily carved a niche for itself in my top books for the year.

Clara, a young mother to twin girls, accompanies her husband Colonel Hal Treherne to his posting in ­Cyprus, where he serves in the British army in 1956. Hal is all he should be for those times — a confident, able and honourable soldier; the alpha male fighting the enemy of the Empire — while Clara strives to be a good mother and wife, as she battles to settle in a foreign land.

As tensions mount between the Cypriots and the British, Hal’s job becomes more difficult as some of the soldiers under his command forego British honour, and take on the savage role of the oppressor.

He finds his sense of what is right thrown into question, and battles to mitigate the effects this has on him and on his relationship with Clara.

Clara cannot come to terms with the stranger Hal has become, as he distances himself from her and the girls, not understanding why he cannot deal with the issues soldiers should be able to handle.

Sadie Jones does not treat her reader like an idiot. She assumes they know something of the human condition and, refreshingly, her understated style reflects that. A small gesture on the part of one of her characters reveals their state of mind. She does not spell it out.

It shows she is confident enough of her skill in the craft not to have to repeat the message she is trying to get across in four different ways.

She also leaves open-ended questions and a twist reminiscent of Tess of the D’Urbervilles leaves you intrigued. Get it and read it now, but savour every page. You’ll be miserable that this reading experience is over when you have finished it.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.