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The Hired Man

by Aminatta Forna
£7.99   paperback  Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2014)

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna Gost is surrounded by mountains and fields of wild flowers. The summer sun burns. The Croatian winter brings freezing winds. Beyond the boundaries of the town an old house which has lain empty for years is showing signs of life. One of the windows, glass darkened with dirt, today stands open, and the lively chatter of English voices carries across the fallow fields. Laura and her teenage children have arrived.
 
A short distance away lies the hut of Duro Kolak who lives alone with his two hunting dogs. As he helps Laura with repairs to the old house, they uncover a mosaic beneath the ruined plaster and, in the rising heat of summer, painstakingly restore it. But Gost is not all it seems; conflicts long past still suppurate beneath the scars.

"Unsettling and supremely masterful novel ... The depth of his character is revealed in every tic of his lonely, ritualised life, and his past is glimpsed in every freighted friendship and casual interaction he has with the men of the town. Through his brooding, bristling machismo, he becomes one of Hemingway’s men – epic in his small, everyman heroism. Every relationship is keenly realised ... The family is sharply observed ... What stands out in all of this is Forna’s near-perfect authorial control. She 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, and it leaves Forna less a gifted African voice, more a gifted writer, and one who has, with this book, magnificently realised her literary potential"
(Independent)

ISBN 13: 9781408843161 | ISBN 10: 1408843161