“As taut and harrowing as the place it depicts, a region where fifteen years of relentless war play out in filthy refugee camps and upscale shopping malls.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Just finished Dark at the Crossing by Elliott Ackerman. This novel is currently shortlisted for the National Book Award.

This novel is the story of Haris Abadi, an Iraqi who supported the United States during the war by being employed as an interpreter who accompanied US Troops who were searching for bomb makers. For this he and his sister are allowed entry into the US and citizenship.

When his younger sister is getting married and will be settled with her new life, Haris decides to return to the region, this time to Turkey where he plans to cross the border into Syria to fight against the Assad regime. His contact to help him get across the border never shows up, and Haris ends up being robbed and beaten.

Shortly after this Haris meets a Syrian man and his wife who take him in to their home, initially because Haris will work for the husband providing information about the war. The husband and wife were from Syria. When a bomb destroys their home, the wife survives but their young daughter is never found. The wife does not believe her daughter is dead and it is she who will help Haris cross the border as long as Haris first gets her to the town of Aleppo, where the family lived.

The book is very dark and the grimness of the story has such a realism to it that you can believe in it entirely. There are other interesting characters you will meet who will play an integral part in the book’s final pages.

A terrific read, at 237 pages my only complaint was that I wish it were longer. A strong candidate for this years award.

Highly recommended.

 

Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 19th November 2017

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