The Hired Man
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The Hired Man

3.84 (1,373 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The new novel from the winner of the Commonwealth WriterÂs Prize, The Hired Man is a taut, powerful novel of a small town and its dark wartime secrets, unwittingly brought into the light by a family of outsiders.Aminatta Forna has established herself as one of our most perceptive and uncompromising chroniclers of war and the way it reverberates, sometimes imperceptibly, in the daily lives of those touched by it. With The Hired Man, she has delivered a tale of a Croatian village after the War of Independence, and a family of newcomers who expose its secrets.Duro is off on a morningÂs hunt when he sees something one rarely does in Gost: a strange car. Later that day, he overhears its occupants, a British woman, Laura, and her two children, who have taken up residence in a house Duro knows well. He offers his assistance getting their water working again, and soon he is at the house every day, helping get it ready as their summer cottage, and serving as LauraÂs trusted confidant. But the other residents of Gost are not as pleased to have the interlopers, and as Duro and LauraÂs daughter Grace uncover and begin to restore a mosaic in the front that has been plastered over, Duro must be increasingly creative to shield the family from the townÂs hostility, and his own past with the houseÂs former occupants. As the inhabitants of Gost go about their days, working, striving to better themselves and their town, and arguing, the townÂs volatile truths whisper ever louder. A masterpiece of storytelling haunted by lost love and a restrained menace, this novel recalls Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee and AnilÂs Ghost by Michael Ondaatje. The Hired Man confirms Aminatta Forna as one of our most important writers.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 293 pages
  • 146 x 212 x 30mm | 459.99g
  • Atlantic Monthly Press
  • United States
  • English
  • 0802121918
  • 9780802121912
  • 816,443

Review quote

Praise for "The Hired Man" "Forna is a born storyteller. . . . Not since "Remains of the Day" has an author so skillfully revealed the way history's layers are often invisible to all but its participants, who do what they must to survive. . . . Gorgeous."--John Freeman, "The Boston Globe" "Absorbing and disturbing . . . Forna's unwavering gaze compels a close look at the complexities of our shared histories. . . . The questions she asks--What is the price of memory? How do we bear the burden of forgetting?--demand attention."--Ellah Allfrey, NPR "A masterful novel by a gifted writer lays bare the secrets and scars of past conflicts . . . [Forna] reveals her story at a pace of measured suspense until it reads like a slow-burn thriller. Her prose quietly grips us by the throat and then tightens its hold. It is storytelling at its most taut." --Arifa Akbar, "The Independent" (UK) "If . . . "The Memory of Love," set in Africa, confirmed Forna's flair for writing about war and its aftermath, "The Hired Man" seals her reputation as arguably the best writer of fiction in this field. . . . This is a novel to be passed on judiciously, like a special gift."--Jackie Annesley, "London Evening Standard" "[Forna] has a terrific ability to evoke the poisonous atmosphere of culpability and denial from which civil conflicts emerge. . . . [and] the atmosphere of festering tension in which perpetrators of the most grotesque acts of violence continue to live side by side. . . . "The Hired Man" triumphantly proves that the story need not always remain the same."--Alfred Hickling, "The Guardian" (UK) "Forna . . . has created a convincing narrator in Duro. . . . His voice is one of the novel's key pleasures--unpretentious and perceptive, tolerant, brooding and sometimes surprising. . . . Every sentence shimmers with possible depths. . . . The plotting is subtle, the suspense maddening, the set-ups undetectable, the character work masterful--and Fshow more

About Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna is the author of two novels, "Ancestor Stones" and "The Memory of Love," and "The Devil That Danced on the Water," a memoir of her activist father, and her country, Sierra Leone. She lives in London.show more

Rating details

1,373 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 22% (308)
4 47% (649)
3 24% (327)
2 6% (76)
1 1% (13)
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