Shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the Pen MacMillan Award and the Angel Award.
Homelessness is the condition in which many people live now. But how will the refugees, from all global conflicts, shape their lives and actions? 1922. Alone of his family, a young Greek boy flees the Turkish massacre in Smyrna. Arriving in Greece with thousands of others, Gregoris Gregoriou works with the desperate drive of the uprooted. He is the son of textile merchants, and with his genius for fabrics he may make and lose fortunes. But also he is caught in a lifelong escape, and a lifelong search for what he has lost -- which perhaps he finds in the enticing fabrics from his Ionian land. New wars approach, and Gregoris and his family endure the traumas of the German invasion and the Greek Civil War with inventiveness, tenacity -- and fear. His young daughter Eleni registers the obscenity of foreign invasion, the intimate atrocity of civil strife. She finds refuge in the closeness of Greek family life, with its almost incestuous intensity and conflict, and its moments of rare, precarious pleasure. She can hide in the intimacy of her father's shop, in the enchantments of the cloths he trades with such artfulness. She becomes entangled in her father's story, and will share his uprootedness and lasting nostalgia. But will her secret alliance with her father drive her, like him, to flee -- from family divisions and ties and enticements? Familiar Wars grants a disturbing, exhilarating look at the way war and exile invade the psyche of a family, and may shape a young imagination.
About the author:
Julietta Harvey was born and educated in Thessaloniki, Greece. She came to England on a British Council Scholarship and took her PhD at Cambridge, where she was elected to a Fellowship at Clare Hall. She has published on Seventeenth Century English literature and on Greek contemporary fiction.
Praise for Familiar Wars:
'Absolutely Original. The first novel of Julietta Harvey is one of the best of the year and should be a favurite for the Booker Prize. The power of invention, of imagination, of creative force, make one hope her readers will be legion.' BBC World Service
'Fresh, delightful and arresting. The sweep and momentum of history are maintained throughout like a rainbow arc through the murky sky of war and disruption. [This novel] combines dry wit with passion, and a sense of history with a wonderfully sensuous awareness of the immediate,' Anita Desai, Spectator
'Familiar Wars grants a magnificent sense, at once saddening and cheering, of what's become of Homer's people in our time, but it's even more magnificent as a sustained ode, a long poem to the mercantile spirit and the things that human beings lovingly craft and greedily trader,' Valentine Cunningham, Observer
'A vast and colourful spectacle,' Sunday Telegraph
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