LONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2019 ‘I am astonished by Four Soldiers. I have never read anything like it, yet it is one of those books you feel must always have existed, a classic of writing about the human condition… A small miracle’ Hilary Mantel 1919. The Russian Civil War. It is the harsh dead of winter, as four soldiers set up camp in a forest somewhere near the Romanian front line. There is a lull in the fighting, so their days are filled with precious hours of freedom, enjoying the tranquillity of a nearby pond and trying to forget their terrifying nightmares, all the while talking, smoking and waiting. Waiting for spring to come, waiting for their battalion to move on, waiting for the inevitable resumption of violence. Tightly focused and simply told, this is a story of friendship and the fragments of happiness that can illuminate the darkness of war.