Perrin Ireland's debut novel yells the story of two women brought together by the galvanizing forces of war and imagination.
Anne is a privileged writer living in Cambridge and still tormented by a brutal act from her past. Ana is a cosmopolitan Muslim poet living in Sarajevo and enjoying a comfortable middle-class existence. Both are irrevocably changed when the peace of Sarajevo is shattered by snipers' bullets. Anne glimpses Ana's battered face on an evening newscast and begins to wonder how she can possibly respond to this distant suffering.
Ana becomes the story that Anne is compelled to tell. The novel she undertakes—Ana Imagined—is a fast-moving, vivid account of Ana's everyday life, transformed overnight by war into a struggle for all that was once taken for granted: food, a night's sleep, an open window, a trip out for ice cream. But what begins as a wrenching tale of survival evolves into a haunting journey of discovery as Ana reveals a secret of her own. In an evocative exploration of the boundaries of compassion and love, we are left mesmerized by the fragility, and resilience, imbedded in the lives of these two women.