Maggie Helwig's stunning British debut is an extraordinary war novel, a poignant and gripping story about the ripples that carry on long after the fighting is over, and about two people kept apart by history, ethics and human frailty. Daniel is a war correspondent in Bosnia, a loner and a truthteller, up to a point, careless with everything except his sources. Lili is an interpreter, based in Paris, careful and meticulous. But when she finds herself working for the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, fails to declare her fragile relationship with Daniel. Between Mountains is a compelling novel of immediacy and power, about love and language, truth and lies, war crimes and the weight of history - with a vividly evoked and frighteningly real supporting cast of war criminals, lawyers, refugees and journalists.
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“One of Maggie Helwig’s many accomplishments in this astonishing novel is her ability to render murderers, victims, and helpless bystanders as equally human. Her political intelligence and spiritual generosity make Between Mountains both a profound gesture of remembrance, as well as a deeply moving work of art.” -- Michael Redhill, author of Martin Sloane
“Maggie Helwig’s novel puts a human face to the criminal destruction of a place once called Yugoslavia. She reminds us that war ravages the souls of all who find themselves caught in its grasp, including journalists from afar; and of the healing power of love.” -- Erna Paris, author of Long Shadows
“When guns and flags stop talking, writers come to heal. Between Mountains is a rare novel about the repercussions of war. From Helwig’s beautiful novel one can learn more about honesty, passion for truth and love than from almost any other book on the tragic conflict in the Balkans.” -- Goran Simiæ, author of Immigrant Blues
“A passionate and poetic love story which never flinches from its task of exploring the way history compromises our lives.” -- Ben Richards, author of The Mermaid and the Drunks
Praise for Maggie Helwig:
“[Helwig is a] passionate observer and witness to the world around her.” -- Broken Pencil
“An inventive, intelligent, and unorthodox thinker.” -- Paragraph
“Helwig knows the precise details that render a scene true.” -- Quill & Quire
“Helwig’s strength is to take concrete subjects and generalize about the mystery of what it is to be human.” -- Malahat Review
A spellbinding, profound novel from one of Canada?s most accomplished poets, Between Mountains sets a heart-rending love story amidst the aftermath of the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
Daniel, a Canadian journalist, has been living in Bosnia for ten years, long after most correspondents have moved on to other global ?hotspots.? On a visit to Paris he meets Lili, a Serbian-Albanian interpreter at The Hague, entrusted with hearing and telling the stories of victims and perpetrators of brutality. Their lives intersect at the trial of a man accused of war crimes, interviews with whom have formed the bedrock of Daniel?s career.
Peripatetic, driven people, Lili and Daniel are also both damaged by the horrific things they have witnessed. Each hopes to find in the other some kind of understanding, and in impossible circumstances they are drawn into an affair which could destroy everything they have worked for.
Reminiscent of The Quiet American and Fugitive Pieces, Between Mountains is at once a complex love story and a gripping novel of war and politics. Exquisitely written and vividly imagined, it explores issues of the greatest human importance within an intensely intimate landscape.
He paused in the doorway of the hotel, automatically charting the safest route. There was a little bar across the street that would probably make him an omelette in mid-afternoon, and he found himself calculating that there was not much exposed ground to cross, then forcing himself to remember that this was Paris, that there were no snipers in the neighbouring buildings, not for now at any rate. -- from Between Mountains
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