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The Burden of the Desert

by Justin Huggler

You won't be forgetting this book in a hurry. Sure to leave an indelible mark on you, the book, set in Iraq in 2003/04 and told through multiple viewpoints with journalist Zoe as the lead, is an intense and at times uncomfortable read. The violence comes suddenly and is unflinching; as a reader it hits you hard. But for a view of a war-ravaged country the book makes for essential reading.

Extract

Night fell across Baghdad. Not darkness, which had already covered the city some hours previously, not silence, which the city's haunted streets never knew amid the skeleton dance of the guns. No, night came to Baghdad with the curfew, the true division of night and day, when the streets emptied of life and the last stragglers hurried back to the safety of their homes, abandoning the city. When they were gone, fear seemed to huddle in the darkened corners, waiting to ambush anyone whom ventured out, as if the shadows were populated by the ghosts of those who had died, unable to rest or find peace until their deaths had been avenged.

Parallels

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Stephen Galloway
 

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