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Walking on eggshells

The Hired Man

Title: The Hired Man
By: Aminatta Forna

"Everything you need to know about Gost is here in the cemetery."

Unexplained tensions build very slowly and skillfully in this book set in the fictional town of Gost, Croatia, nearly two decades after the Yugoslav civil war of the early 1990s. Laura, an English woman oblivious to the undercurrents of resentment and disapproval in the community, has bought a house to fix up. Duro, the local hired man who offers his talent for repairs, takes advantage of the opportunity for steady work and the pleasure of building normal relationships with Laura and her family. They appreciate his skills, work ethic, and assistance with getting things done in a language and culture not their own. But his role in Gost is not as simple as it seems.

This book is so carefully crafted it would be a travesty to reveal more of the story. Its muted tone lends a sense of emotional distancing and of walking on eggshells.

"The way the English saw it, the past was always better. But in this country our love of the past is a great deal less, unless it is a very distant past indeed, the kind nobody alive can
remember, a past transformed into a song or a poem. We tolerate the present, but what we love is the future, which is about as far away from the past as it is possible to be."

View similarly tagged posts: fiction

Posted on April 24, 2014 at 3:57 a.m.

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