News From the Red Desert

News From the Red Desert

Book - 2016
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From the award-winning author of The Water in Between and Consumption , the definitive novel of the Afghanistan war.

News From the Red Desert begins in late 2001, when everyone believes the war is already won and the Taliban defeated, then leaps late in the severely escalated conflict--into the mess, and death, and confusion. At its heart are the men and women who have come to Afghanistan to seek purpose, and adventure, and danger, by engaging in the most bewitching and treacherous of human pursuits: making war.
It's the story of Deirdre O'Malley, an American journalist who had been covering municipal politics when the airplanes went into the towers. Now a war correspondent, she has come to love the soldiers she covers and to grieve so hard over their wounds and their deaths she considers herself a member of the mission too. Embedded with Canadian infantry, she can't ignore the situation on the ground. Her loyalty toward her ex-lover, the American general who has taken command of the theatre, wavers as the war wavers, and the use of torture and the slaughter of civilians is brought to light. Fuelling the tension is a melancholy American supply sergeant who accidentally releases a trove of war porn online that sparks a furious hunt for the person who leaked it. Fearing arrest at any moment, he has stayed on too long in Kandahar for reasons he doesn't understand himself. Caught up in these currents are the Pakistanis who operate the Green Beans café on the Kandahar Airfield, led by optimist Rami Issay, who wants to lighten his customers' hearts (and make a success of his business) by running film and chess clubs in the only zone of recreation on the base. But the war intrudes even into the lives of the well-intentioned. In a powerful climax that tests everyone's loyalty and faith, the essential chaos of violence asserts itself. Love and desire endure, but no-one escapes unscathed.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2016.
ISBN: 9780345815026
Branch Call Number: PAT
Characteristics: 302 p. ; 25 cm.


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Sep 14, 2018

A well written and moving story. Good insights into a war that cannot be won. America has been in Afghanistan for 17 years with no end in sight. Somebody is making a lot of money off this war.

May 30, 2017

one of the best works of fiction I've read in a long while

Nov 28, 2016

This novel made excellent reading in spite of the fact that it is very VERY grim in places. It s the first time I have encountered some of the perspectives in the novel - that of an embedded journalist with the polarities that come with that position, the generals, the Special Forces, and the locals. I will definitely be looking to read more of what the author, Kevin Patterson, has written in the past.

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