Friday, December 7, 2012

Small Wars by Sadie Jones

Paperback:  472 pages
Genre: Fiction
Vintage (15 April 2010) 
Source: Oxfam Bookshop in UK
First Sentence: Prologue: Sandhurst, July 1946. An English rain was falling onto the instruments of the band, onto their olive green uniforms and the uniforms of the cadets as they marched.

Review Quote:   Quite an achievement...Jones explores how love may be warped and threatened by politics or polite society but will ultimately endure. She may not have strayed too far from her debut but this follow-up shows that she is no one hit wonder (Lucy Atkins Sunday Times ) 
 My Opinion:  A moving story about a couples experiences during the civil war in fifties Cyprus. 

I found interesting comparisons between 'Small Wars' and the author's last novel The Outcast as once again it is set in the fifties, featuring a deeply troubled young man. This time the setting is mainly fifties Cyprus but it has the same restrained and lethargic feel about it, no fast paced action here. Instead the novel is a well written character study of the protagonists, a young married couple, Hal and Clara.  

A moving tale about the couples experiences during the civil war in fifties Cyprus. Hal and Clara Treherne have been together for ten years, quiet years on the military front but happy ones for their marriage. When Hal was transferred to the Mediterranean conflict zone of Cyprus, he was in his element as he felt this was at last giving him the opportunity to put to good use the skills he had been trained in. Clara shares her husbands strong sense of duty and as an army wife, she does her best to behave appropriately, however afraid she actually is. The brutality that Hal witnesses some of it from unexpected sources start to take their toll on him and he becomes so tormented that he is no longer able to think straight, or sleep. Clara and Hal's relationship  suffers as both of them struggle with the circumstances that are driving them apart.

A timely reminder to us all of how profoundly lives are affected by war, relayed in a powerful way via the pages of this novel.

Author Profile.

Sadie Jones was born in 1967 and raised in London, where she now once again lives, with her husband and two children. She is the daughter of Evan Jones, a Jamaican-born poet and scriptwriter, who worked with director and Joanna Jones, an actress.
Sadie 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.
Sadie Jones' second novel, Small Wars, is set in 1956 Cyprus and is inspired by the war in Afghanistan. It was published at the end of August 2009. Her third novel, The Uninvited Guests was published in March 2012. Set in the fading grandeur of an Edwardian country house, it is a darkly humorous, unsettling and ghostly tale.

Photo and Biographical Information is with thanks to the following sites where you can also find out more about the author and her writing. 

Sadie Jones - Wikipedia   Amazon Author Profile    Goodreads Author Profile

I have chosen to read this title as the letter S for The A - Z Book Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. You can follow my progress here. 


  1. I was waiting for your review in general and thank god my wish is fulfilled :)
    Seems like a great book :)!

    i would like to bookmark it and read it! :)

    1. I am so pleased you enjoy my reviews Diventia, I have lots ready to post between now and the end of the year catching up, so watch this space. :)

  2. I loved this one, she is admittedly one of my favourite authors though! Glad to hear you enjoyed it too.

    1. I will definitely be reading more of her writing given the opportunity Lindsay.


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