Hard by a Great Forest
Hard by a Great Forest
Book for April 2024
Group 1
Amid rubble and rebuilding in a former Soviet land, one family must rescue one another and put the past to a stirring novel about what happens after the fighting is over “My mother stayed, so that we could go.” Having fled conflict in the former-Soviet Republic of Georgia as children, Saba and his brother have fought to make peace with the past. In particular, they struggle with the sacrifices of a mother who remained in a war zone so that their father could get them out. Now, years later, the brothers are young adults, their mother is dead, and their father has been lured back to their beautiful, decaying homeland – only to disappear. Then Saba’s older brother, chasing after their missing father, vanishes too. Left alone to figure out what has happened and to find his family, Saba sets off on his own urgent, haunted search across his homeland. Accompanied by new friends and old ghosts as he follows a breadcrumb trail of clues, he must wrestle the present from the past as he crosses into the kind of danger zones – both physical and emotional – that he thought he had left behind. Harrowing and tender but leavened with humor and an appreciation for the absurd, Hard by a Great Forest offers a unique story about traumas of war felt even decades after the fighting, and the long-term effects on those families driven not just to survive, but to remember.
About the Author
Leo Vardiashvili
Leo Vardiashvili was born and raised in Tbilisi, Georgia. When he was twelve, he and his family fled Georgia’s post-Soviet regime for asylum in England. He studied English literature at Queen Mary University of London.