A SUNDAY TIMES, NEW STATESMAN AND SPECTATOR BOOK OF THE YEAR ‘Vivid, illuminating and unbearably tense … A masterly meditation on trauma, on beauty, on the idea of home and the limits of love’ Guardian Charlie’s experiences at the Battle of Kohima and the months he spent lost in the remote jungles of Nagaland during the Second World War are now history. Home and settled on a farm in Norfolk and newly married to Claire, he is one of the lucky survivors. Starting a family and working the land seem the best things a man can be doing. But a chasm exists between them. Memories flood Charlie’s mind; at night, on rain-slicked roads and misty mornings in the fields, the past can feel more real than the present. Though hidden even to himself, the darkest secrets of Charlie’s adventures in the strange and shadowy ridges of the Nagaland mountains, his dream-like encounters with the mysterious and ancient tribesmen, leak and bleed through his consciousness. What should be said and what left unsaid? Is it possible to forge a new life in the wake of unfathomable horror? A beautifully conceived, deftly controlled and delicately wrought meditation on the isolating impact of war, the troubling legacies of colonialism and the inescapable reach of the past, Georgina Harding’s haunting, lyrical novel questions the very nature of survival, and what it is that the living owe the dead.
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