Publication Date: 30/01/2024 ISBN: 9781526659828 Category:

Hard by a Great Forest

Leo Vardiashvili

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: 30/01/2024 ISBN: 9781526659828 Category:


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‘A spellbinding achievement’ FINANCIAL TIMES
‘Poignant and often painfully comic’ OBSERVER
‘I gasped, laughed, and wept my way through it’ KHALED HOSSEINI
‘Hugely impressive’ NEW EUROPEAN
‘Novels like this might help light the way’ GUARDIAN
‘At once a puzzle hunt and an affecting meditation on exile’ ECONOMIST

Tbilisi’s littered with memories that await me like landmines. The dearly departed voices I silenced long ago have come back without my permission. The situation calls for someone with a plan. I didn’t even bring toothpaste.

Saba’s father is missing, and the trail leads back to Tbilisi, Georgia.

It’s been two decades since Irakli fled his war-torn homeland with two young sons, now grown men. Two decades since he saw their mother, who stayed so they could escape. At long last, Tbilisi has lured him home. But when Irakli’s phone calls stop, a mystery begins…

Arriving in the city as escaped zoo animals prowl the streets, Saba picks up the trail of clues: strange graffiti, bewildering messages transmitted through the radio, pages from his father’s unpublished manuscript scattered like breadcrumbs. As the voices of those left behind pull at the edges of his world, Saba will discover that all roads lead back to the past, and to secrets swallowed up by the great forests of Georgia.

In a winding pursuit through the magic and mystery of returning to a lost homeland, Hard by a Great Forest is a rare, searching tale of home, memory and sacrifice – of one family’s mission to rescue one another, and put the past to rest.

Publisher Review

A sensitive exploration of grief, memory, loss and the immigrant experience woven seamlessly into a propulsive narrative * Perspective magazine * Astonishingly crafted with history, candour, beauty, grief and just a little magic. A book like no other, from an imagination like no other. Vardiashvili has written a triumph -- Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of LESS IS LOST Rich with irony and animated with astonishing humanity, this tale of a young Georgian refugee's odyssey into his birthplace to rescue family left my heart bruised and battered and aching for more -- Khaled Hosseini This novel blows open the heart of the past. It's a mystery, it's a picaresque, it's a comedy, and it's an authentic song of belonging and unbelonging ... By turns political and philosophical, it introduces a fine new voice in contemporary fiction -- Colum McCann A wildly charming debut - propulsive, funny, and profound -- Elif Batuman Propulsive, profoundly moving and rich with humor and heartbreak, Hard by a Great Forest mesmerised me from the very first page. Inspired by Vardiashvili's own family story, this novel will capture your heart -- Jean Kwok

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