It’s a big call, but this book kept reminding me of Joseph Heller’s satiric WWII masterpiece, Catch-22. The anger at the US military, the frustration, the craziness of the rules and bureaucracy, the sharp-edged humour, and a hero who sometimes seems the sanest person in the room, and sometimes completely off the planet. It may not quite rank with Catch-22, but Miller’s writing has an extraordinary power that grabs you and doesn’t let go.
But then a reporter arrives and talks his way through the checkpoint to get access to a small town. And a helicopter carrying Saddam Hussein’s forces arrives and massacres the town’s Shiite citizens.
Arwood rushes to the reporter’s rescue, and together they attempt to bring a young Iraqi girl to safety.
Twenty-two years later, Arwood sees news footage of an attack in Kurdish territory. He sees a girl in green who he is convinced is the same girl, and sees a chance to make amends.
Miller dives into the complex and confusing world of the Middle East with a depth of knowledge of the region and the forces at play that is obvious on every page.
Miller’s writing is direct and powerful – it’s impossible to read this without becoming angry and upset, but there is humour too, and just enough hope.
I found aspects horrifying, even more so because I knew it was true.
His first book, Norwegian By Night, was one of my favourite books of 2012, and I think this one’s even better.
This book was first published in July 2016.