Olivia Sudjic’s second novel, Asylum Road, is a smart and sensitively layered story that’s told through niggling memories, unspoken thoughts, white space. The past interrupts the present, which in turn tugs at the future. It begins and ends in a car — a couple ‘side by side, in motion with a change of view’ – and all the while the reader too is in a state of flux, unsettled.
That’s a state Sudjic’s protagonist, Anya, is familiar with. Along with other unaccompanied children, she was evacuated from Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. Sent to live with her aunt in Glasgow, she’s been searching for a sense of belonging ever since. At university she found ‘shelter and a certain amount of liberty, a veneer of cosmopolitanism’; in her stoic scientist fiancé, Luke, with his filial loyalty and fondness for repairs — ‘things which suggested reliability’.