Small Wars

Small Wars

Small Wars by Sadie Jones was recommended to me, given its setting in Cyprus in the British military not long after World War Two is a subject I am interested in. I have stayed on a British army base in Cyprus, and my grandfather was stationed on the RAF base at Akrotiri, where it is set, in the 1950s, so reading a fictionalised account of a military family there in the ‘emergency’ of that time was gripping.

Hal is a good man, supported by the love of his wife Clara and their twin girls. He starts the book with certainty about the world and his role in it, but this begins to unravel when he and his family are posted to Cyprus from a base in Germany. The tension builds as Hal struggles to cope at home with what he sees at work, and as Clara fights her own demons, living in a state of constant tension.

This is a book about how war tears people apart, breeds atrocities and breaks down what it is to be human. It asks and answers the question of how much a good person is prepared to take, and how far are they prepared to go, when stripped of power. An excellent read.