The Hired Man

The Hired Man

Book - 2013
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Gost is surrounded by mountains and fields of wild flowers. The summer sun burns. The winter brings freezing winds. Beyond the boundaries of the town an old house which has lain empty for years is showing signs of life. One of the windows, glass darkened with dirt, today stands open, and the lively chatter of English voices carries across the fallow fields. Laura and her teenage children have arrived. A short distance away lies the hut of Duro Kolak who lives alone with his two hunting dogs. As he helps Laura with repairs to the old house, they uncover a mosaic beneath the ruined plaster and, in the rising heat of summer, painstakingly restore it. But Gost is not all it seems; conflicts long past still suppurate beneath the scars.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2013]
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780802121912
Characteristics: 293 pages ; 22 cm


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Aug 25, 2017

Set in Croatia, this novel looks back to ethnic cleansing in a small community during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Its themes are betrayal and the horror of civil war and Forna evokes the oppressive atmosphere of guilt and denial in its aftermath.

LakeErieLisa Jan 24, 2015

Unique, intriguing, incredibly well-written. A novel written by an African woman who lives in England about Croatia, told in the 1st person voice of a Croatian man. Kind of amazing!

hs69 Oct 25, 2014

This is a great book. It's well-written and gripping, but not a light read. It's true it doesn't give much insight into this particular conflict, but Forna's goal seems to be to explore how trauma and war effect memory. She manages to keep the story universal.

May 25, 2014

Good book, minus one star because it ended in the middle. It was creepy, well-written, I wasn't sure if I liked our main character or not, but I really wanted to know what happened. Then it just ended.

May 11, 2014

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna places the reader in a unique position: although the first-person narration gives seeming omniscience into the title character's perspective, over time, it becomes apparent that the reader is as much a stranger in a strange land as the British family unaware of the depths of hurt and violence the narrator and his Croatian countrymen suffered in the war and still carry with them two decades on. The narrator does not lay blame or accusation of ignorance on the reader nor the family, but instead molds his story to the listener, carefully parceling out details - even the final, wrenching revelations of atrocity and betrayal - only according to the listener's capacity to withstand them.

Apr 22, 2014

Good writing, and good storytelling, but the author offers little insight into the subject.

Feb 16, 2014

Excellent book, intriguing and well written. The pace keeps you ready for more with each page. I will be ordering the other books she has written.

Sep 09, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the intrigue of the characters and their pasts was revealed in such a way that it tempted, or encouraged, you to keep reading. A insightful look at the connections we make, often innocent, and how they affect our decisions, our memories, our lives. The last 100 or so pages I just couldn't put it down.


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