Hard by a Great Forest: A Novel

Written by:
Leo Vardiashvili
Narrated by:
Luke Thompson

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2024
10 hours 24 minutes

'The stakes could barely be higher in Leo Vardiashvili’s propulsive page-turner…It’s a spellbinding achievement.'—The Financial Times

“Has a commercial-fiction spring in its step.… Vardiashvili also has captured the winking, world-weary humor and magic-realist touches that mark a lot of literature from Europe’s war-torn corners.” —Los Angeles Times

'This novel annihilated me.... Left my heart bruised and battered and aching for more.' —Khaled Hosseini, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner

“Tender and raw and funny.” —Colum McCann, National Book Award winning author of Let the Great World Spin

'Propulsive, funny, and profound.'—Elif Batuman, Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of The Idiot

“A book like no other, from an imagination like no other.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Less Is Lost

Amid rubble and rebuilding in a former Soviet land, one family must rescue one another and put the past to rest: a stirring novel about what happens after the fighting is over

Saba is just a child when he flees the fighting in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with his older brother, Sandro, and father, Irakli, for asylum in England. Two decades later, all three men are struggling to make peace with the past, haunted by the places and people they left behind.

When Irakli decides to return to Georgia, pulled back by memories of a lost wife and a decaying but still beautiful homeland, Saba and Sandro wait eagerly for news. But within weeks of his arrival, Irakli disappears, and the final message they receive from him causes a mystery to unfold before them: “I left a trail I can’t erase. Do not follow it.”

In a journey that will lead him to the very heart of a conflict that has marred generations and fractured his own family, Saba must retrace his father’s footsteps to discover what remains of their homeland and its people. By turns savage and tender, compassionate and harrowing, Hard by a Great Forest is a powerful and ultimately hopeful novel about the individual and collective trauma of war, and the indomitable spirit of a people determined not only to survive, but to remember those who did not.
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