Thea Lenarduzzi

Enduring Love

The Hired Man


Bloomsbury 304pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Duro first lays eyes on Laura and her family through the cross hairs of his rifle, as their four-wheel drive winds through the Croatian hills. Like Aminatta Forna’s previous novels, Ancestor Stones (2006) and The Memory of Love (2010), The Hired Man is told from the perspective of one who has suffered but survived conflict. Duro, a middle-aged Croat, has spent most of his life in the town of Gost, which was caught between opposing armies during the dismantling of Yugoslavia in the 1980s and 1990s. He is strong and good with his hands, so Laura, visiting from England, employs him to restore the dilapidated house she has bought as a holiday home. But Duro also has a way with words: ‘I often thought I would like to be a writer.’ ‘This story’, he explains, ‘is not the story of the whole of the past, just the story of a single summer’, though, like the pockmarked buildings of Gost, the betrayals of the old days are ever-present.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,