Small Wars by Sadie JonesSmall Wars by Sadie Jones

Small Wars

bySadie Jones

Paperback | July 27, 2010

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Sadie Jones, the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of The Outcast, returns with an ambitious, richly imagined novel that confirms her place in the literary firmament.

A passionate and beautifully written tale of personal loss in the midst of war in late 1950s Cyprus, Small Wars raises important questions that are just as relevant today.

What happens when everything a man believes in — the army, his country, his marriage — begins to crumble? Hal Treherne is a young British soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Transferred to Cyprus to defend the colony, Hal takes his wife, Clara, and their daughters with him. But Hal is pulled into atrocities that take him further from Clara, a betrayal that is only one part of a shocking personal crisis to come. Small Wars is a searing, unforgettable novel from a writer at the height of her powers.

From the Hardcover edition.
Sadie Jones lives in London with her husband and two children. Small Wars is her second novel.From the Hardcover edition.
Title:Small WarsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8 × 5.1 × 1 inPublished:July 27, 2010Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307398544

ISBN - 13:9780307398543

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Win for Sadie Jones I had to read The Outkast by Sadie Jones for my English Literature course last year and absolutely loved the book. I never put it down and it kept me on my toes. After reading some reveiws of her new novel Small Wars, I was sadend by the dislike of the novel. Naturally not listening to others I took it out of the library and I am now going to purchase the novel because it was spectacular. Another win for Sadie Jones!
Date published: 2010-12-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from High Expections Sadie Jones' blew me away with The Outcast. I was riveted throughout the entire book. Naturally, my expectations for Small Wars were high to say the least. Unfortunately, those expectations were not met. I struggled through the first quarter, almost giving it up entirely. I did manage to finish, and found the last quarter to be much more interesting. Still wouldn't recommend it though.
Date published: 2010-09-02

Read from the Book

Chapter OneThe army had rented them a house in Limassol, quite near to the harbour because married quarters on the base hadn’t been sorted out for them yet.Hal knew the weather had been bad on the crossing from England — even after Gibraltar — and he pictured Clara and the girls laid up in their cabins all the way from Portsmouth. He hoped they hadn’t been too sick; Clara wasn’t a good sailor. He had enjoyed his own journey from Krefeld, flying in bumpy weather with the countries of Europe and wrinkled blue sea passing below, like a clay model you could stick flags in, and move imaginary armies from place to place.Hal had been promoted to major, and transferred from his battalion in Germany to this one, alone, not knowing anybody. Everything had been new to him. He had set about the business of leadership and his new rank with steadfast energy, and was rewarded by a smooth transition. Sleeping alone in that house for a month, as he had, he missed the company of barracks, and the isolation was grating.The Limassol house was narrow, in a cobbled street, with no outlook to speak of and barely a lock on the door. It made Hal uncomfortable to think of it, the unsettling lack of secur ity, and that you couldn’t see anything from the windows other than the crooked windows of other houses. If someone were to approach, or set a booby-trap, there’d be no stopping them. A few months before, in Famagusta, an EOKA terrorist had lobbed a bomb through the open window of a soldier’s house as his wife was putting the children to bed. Hal knew his instinct — his agony of responsibility — must be tempered and that the Housing Officer was doing everything he could to get him married quarters at the garrison. But the other soldier’s wife, in Famagusta, had lost half her arm in the explosion. Hal had spoken to the Housing Officer again that morning, reminding him, but beyond doing that he had no power: he must trust everything was being done that could be done. If he didn’t have faith, he wouldn’t manage, but with it, he could live with the knowledge of the other soldier’s wife and still have his own come to be with him.He lay in the bed that was too big for him, but would be too small for them both when Clara came, and imagined her leaving England for Cyprus. It had been a vicious winter all over Europe. Hal pictured a cold day at Portsmouth harbour, HMS Endeavour vast and cold too, and Clara waving to her mother.Hal was right. Clara had been sick on the voyage. Meg and Lottie hadn’t seemed affected by the heaving boat at all, perhaps being small and low to the ground their bodies weren’t so disrupted, and she’d had to run after them, bent over, up and down the slippery metal corridors of the Endeavour, what felt like all day, every day, for the whole journey. The twins were sixteen months and had discovered exercise, exploration and teasing their mother.Clara, whom Hal had taken to calling ‘Pudding’ during her pregnancy in Krefeld, had lost all of her baby weight, and with being seasick all the time and no German — or even English — stodge to sustain her, now barely filled out her clothes at all. She hoped she wouldn’t be too skinny for Hal. He loved her curves.When she wasn’t chasing the girls up and down the Endeavour, or leaning over the metal bowl of the lavatory, she read to them. She read the new books she had bought for them in London, and she read the old books her mother had allowed her to take from the shelves of the nursery. She held the loose-spined books gently, reading to Meg and Lottie about fairies and trains and England, until all three fell asleep.The Endeavour made its slow floating entry into the deep east of the Mediterranean. They passed Greece, and the long reaches of Crete. The ancient seas slid away beneath them, the boat throbbed and heaved, the islands and the skies surrounded them. Now she stood in the drizzle, watching Cyprus coming towards her out of the mist.She had travelled out with an odd assortment of people: an Italian nightclub singer, a young teacher for the English school, who was a shy man barely out of school himself, and a Welsh businessman, with ‘interests’ in Nicosia, who was very boastful; he liked to frighten them with stories of EOKA’s terrorist atrocities, and make them feel as if they were entering a proper war zone, not just a long-held part of the Empire having a little trouble with a few insurgents. ‘It’s hardly the Blitz, is it?’ Clara said to the young teacher one night. It made her feel braver.Despite the recent war, she had never felt herself a foreigner in Germany: it had the northern European restraint and ragged bombed greyness of home, and she had felt unthreatened there, even as she missed her family. She thought her sense of belonging might actually spring from the war between them, that England and Germany were like two siblings, badly bruised, but forced to carry on in the same house and learn to get on. Cyprus, though, was another thing altogether. Part of the Empire it may have been, but the island was a virtual chip off the Middle East too, Byzantium, Turkey, Greece, all of these parts in crisis, under the British flag, and her husband charged with part of its protection; Clara couldn’t help but feel nostalgia for the dull concrete barracks and modern flats of Krefeld, and Brunswick, that she had called home for the six years of her marriage.The group of civilians clustered together on the metal deck while all around them troops prepared to disembark and the Endeavour’s crew brought her into dock. Clara knew they were in the way; she was trying to get mittens onto the girls, but kept dropping them, dangling on their elastic. The soldiers were National Service ones, noisy, desperate to be on land. Clara and the other civilians had kept apart from them on the voyage and it was disconcerting to be surrounded now. The Italian singer, who had put on a sort of safari suit with a cinched waist for their arrival, held one of Meg’s hands, and Clara, with Lottie on her hip, held the other. Rain stung her eyes.The arms of the small harbour were around them now as they drew closer. Clara could see the houses of the town all along the straight front and the waves hitting the sea wall and splashing up. She could see the fishing boats and navy craft bobbing and bumping together on their moorings. She saw black cars and Land Rovers and soldiers, and behind them the jumble of plaster and stone buildings, warehouses, storehouses and the big metal mooring posts, which were mushroom-shaped with giant thick ropes tightly wound around them. She saw soldiers and Cypriots milling about, knotted in groups, waiting. She held onto her children’s small hands tightly.She saw Hal.He had seen her first and was smiling, with his eyes squinting against the wind. He raised his hand. Now there was just the waiting for the big slow ship to close the distance between them.The front door stuck.‘We’ve had a lot of thunderstorms,’ said Hal.The girls peered past their mother’s legs into the darkness of the house.‘Well gosh, it’s not awfully Mediterranean, is it?’ said Clara.‘Not today.’Corporal Kirby, Hal’s batman, began to bring the cases in from the Land Rover. Clara was forced into the kitchen; she and the girls pressed themselves against the wall as Hal and Kirby lifted the biggest trunk and took it upstairs.Clara took off her hat. There was a stove, a small table, a sink and a food safe with a front that opened downwards to make a shelf. The brown louvred shutters were closed on the window at the front, and at the back of the house there was a door with a curtain over it. The little girls silently watched Clara go to it and push the curtain aside. It slid awkwardly on the plastic-covered wire.The neighbouring houses backed onto a small courtyard where there was a washing bowl for clothes on the tiles, and a tree in a pot that was dead. She turned back to the room. The girls were pale and top-heavy in their buttoned-up coats.‘Your things are wet, aren’t they?’ said Clara, and took off their woollen hats. ‘Shall we go and see what Daddy’s up to?’In the front bedroom, Hal and Corporal Kirby were trying to find space for the trunks and smaller cases. Hal turned to Clara as she came in. He looked serious and embarrassed.‘What a lovely house!’ she said, and he smiled at her.‘That’s fine, Kirby. Leave it, will you.’‘Right, sir.’They heard his boots down the stairs, and the door, and then the Land Rover starting up. Meg and Lottie stared at their parents.‘How’s it been?’ said Clara.‘Not bad at all.’‘Better than Krefeld?’‘Well, not half so luxurious, as you can see.’‘We don’t mind.’‘Don’t you?’‘Of course not. We’ll make the best of it.’Clara went to him slowly. She put her face against his shoulder and the girls came over too, and rested their hands on their parents’ legs. Hal put his head down and felt Clara’s smooth hair against his cheek. ‘A month was too long,’ he said. He put his arms round them all as the sound of motorbikes and Cypriot voices and the banging shutters of other houses came up from the street.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"An absorbing story about emotional constraint and its dangers. . . . One wonders where Sadie Jones will go from here."— The Daily Telegraph"Jones's first novel...was a very hard act to follow. Her second, however, is even better."— The Times"An exemplary meditation on honour and shame, and on that exquisite tension in army life between emotion and duty, loyalty and betrayal. . . . The impact of military life on our humanity is subtly explored. . . . A well-paced novel possessing both literary and moral integrity."— Sunday Telegraph"A seamlessly crafted tale about love and death."— Winnipeg Free PressFrom the Hardcover edition.