Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili

Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili

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Amid rubble and rebuilding in a former Soviet land, one family must rescue one another and put the past to rest: a stirring novel about what happens after the fighting is over

Saba is just a child when he flees the fighting in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with his older brother, Sandro, and father, Irakli, for asylum in England. Two decades later, all three men are struggling to make peace with the past, haunted by the places and people they left behind.

When Irakli decides to return to Georgia, pulled back by memories of a lost wife and a decaying but still beautiful homeland, Saba and Sandro wait eagerly for news. But within weeks of his arrival, Irakli disappears, and the final message they receive from him causes a mystery to unfold before them: 
“I left a trail I can’t erase. Do not follow it.”

In a journey that will lead him to the very heart of a conflict that has marred generations and fractured his own family, Saba must retrace his father’s footsteps to discover what remains of their homeland and its people. By turns savage and tender, compassionate and harrowing, 
Hard by a Great Forest is a powerful and ultimately hopeful novel about the individual and collective trauma of war, and the indomitable spirit of a people determined not only to survive, but to remember those who did not.


“Vardiashvili’s heartbreaking debut novel lays bare the effects that displacement can have over generations and illuminates the resilience of those who have suffered and still found their way to happiness.”The Washington Post

“Cunning and unstinting, humanist and self-aware…Evoke[s] a thorough understanding of war, escape and violence… reflecting the cyclical nature of familial death and individual reconstitution. The unstable way we return home.”The New York Times

“Has a commercial-fiction spring in its step.… Vardiashvili also has captured the winking, world-weary humor and magic-realist touches that mark a lot of literature from Europe’s war-torn corners.” The Los Angeles Times

Trade Paperback
Publisher: Riverhead Books
ISBN: 978-0593545034
Pages: 352