Foreign-correspondent Prusher draws on her own experience covering stories in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Turkey in this lengthy first novel. The British-educated son of a doctor, Nabil al-Amari is an English teacher in war-torn Iraq. Bombings have left his school unusable, so he’s free to say “yes” when American journalist Samara “Sam” Katchens asks him to help her investigate claims that a colleague may have fakeda story. Sam is used to hiring “fixers”—locals who provide contacts, grease palms, and fix problems. Literal-minded Nabil is still struggling with the distinction between translating words and interpreting information, but he is fascinated by his headstrong American employer and the way she sees his world. Prusher provides a unique perspective on day-to-day life in 2003 Iraq, and Nabil’s first-person narration carries the book. He is genuinely curious about how others see his country and, in trying to understand their perspective, finds his own shifting. Despite its heft, this compelling debut is easy to recommend to both male and female readers interested in the Middle East, journalistic ethics, and international affairs.
Review by Karen Keefe
© Booklist Online November 2014