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Small Wars by Sadie Jones (2009)



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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Irritating book ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
I heartily disliked her first book but enjoyed this one. Very understated novel about a military marriage with much relevance and resonance to current sitation in Iraq. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
I loved this novel from beginning to end, and sped through the near 500 pages in 24 hours. Everything about it was terrific - the unusual setting of the Greek Cypriot unrest against British occupation in Cyprus, the subtle tension built up around the military action and the ensuing psychological fallout, and the pinpoint observations of the slow rot setting into what had been a perfect marriage.

Jones is an amazing writer: her prose is so descriptive and her plots so cleverly executed I almost forget I'm reading at all.

A perfect holiday read spoilt only by the terrible cover which makes me think of mass market romance books.

5 stars - practically perfect. ( )
  AlisonY | Jul 9, 2016 |
  johnrid11 | Feb 14, 2016 |
Small Wars by Sadie Jones is set on the island of Cyprus during 1956. This was a time of military conflict and Major Hal Treherne has been posted there, soon his wife Clara and their two young daughters join him. Theirs is a military family and Hal is soon relishing leading his men into combat and serving his country in the way he has been trained to. Clara feels it is her role to back Hal, accept their living conditions and not complain or let her husband see her fear.

But this isn’t an open battle, this war for independence is being fought by guerrillas and schoolchildren alike. The lines of battle are unclear and civilians are often targeted., atrocities are being done by both sides. As Hal works at being a good solider, he finds himself on the same side as rapists and torturers. He withdraws into himself and Clara feels more and more abandoned. It takes a personal tragedy to change their lives and eventually open the path of communication between them.

The author has turned her microscopic view on this marriage and we can see that love, duty, stress, fear and mostly non-communication all play a role in the distance that separates these two. I felt this was a statement not only about life in the military but also about life in the 1950’s when talking about one’s feelings was not considered acceptable conversation. I applaud the author for telling this story, I loved the setting but unfortunately I never felt emotionally involved with the characters. They seemed to hold themselves as much at a distance from the reader as they did from each other. Perhaps this was the authors’ design, but it kept me from totally falling in love with this book. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jun 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Sadie Jones's first novel, The Outcast, was a devastating portrait of family damage in a postwar climate of numbness and repression. An unusually confident debut, it combined elegant, understated prose with a raw emotional charge to become that rare thing: a critically applauded bestseller. It's a hard act to follow, and while her second novel again examines love, duty, shame and violence against the backdrop of the 50s, it widens out from the domestic war zone to military conflict in Cyprus. Small Wars is commendably ambitious, but also a thinner, more mannered work than its predecessor. It strips away the social codes and agreed lies of army, family and marriage, but finds little behind them.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sadie Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Almighty God, whose son Jesus Christ, the Lord of all life, came not to be served but to serve, help us to be masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others and teach us to Serve To Lead, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

The Collect of RMA Sandhurst
- Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden, Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
For Tim Boyd
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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.
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After career soldier Hal Treherne is transferred to the British colony of Cyprus, his wife, Clara, and two daughters follow, but Clara becomes fearful of her increasingly distant husband and the atrocities that take him further from her.

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