Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize 2023
Shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2023
Shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2023
Shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Prize 2023
Sarajevo, spring 1992. Each night, nationalist gangs erect barricades, splitting the diverse city into ethnic enclaves; each morning, the residents – whether Muslim, Croat or Serb – push the makeshift barriers aside. When violence finally spills over, Zora, an artist and teacher, sends her husband and elderly mother to safety with her daughter in England.
Reluctant to believe that hostilities will last more than a handful of weeks, she stays behind while the city falls under siege. As the assault deepens and everything they love is laid to waste, black ashes floating over the rooftops, Zora and her friends are forced to rebuild themselves, over and over. Theirs is a breathtaking story of disintegration, resilience and hope.