The Longest Winter, by Kevin Sullivan
Published by Twenty7, 1st May 2017
Genres: Historical fiction
Source: Purchased (second-hand)
Sarajevo 1992. The country is at war, with neighbour fighting neighbour, the government is powerless and the city is under siege. Terry is a British doctor who has travelled into this warzone to rescue a young boy who needs immediate evacuation for life-saving surgery in London. Brad is an American journalist, desperately trying to salvage his reputation after the disastrous ending to his last posting. Milena fled her home and her husband in Eastern Bosnia when the fighting started. She now lives and works in the besieged city, barely getting by.
In the aftermath of the assassination of a government minister, these three lives become ever more entangled as the situation worsens around them.
I was excited to read this book as I know relatively little about the Bosnian war and I was interested to learn more. I love learning about history through reading historical fiction and discovering stories I never even expected. But I have to say I was a bit disappointed with this book.
When I heard that it was based on true accounts, gathered by the author during his time in the country during the war, I was expecting a lot more. The title itself is also misleading. I understand that this story is set during “the longest winter” in Sarajevo, as people struggled to survive the siege. But the action of the book takes place over the course of three days. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.
There are also a lot of characters in this book, too many in my opinion. I found that I was getting distracted trying to remember who everyone was and how they were important to the story, rather than being able to focus on the main characters. As a result, I found it hard to be invested in the outcomes of the individual stories.
That being said, I really did enjoy the depictions of the city under siege and the heroic everyday struggles of those who lived through that time. It was an interesting read, just not what I expected.
My rating: 3/5