Saturday, November 17, 2012

not always pure blacks and whites

Finished Justin Sirois' and Haneen Alshujairy's Falcons on the Floor a couple of days ago, and I must say, I have to applaud them for writing a war novel that, much like Chimamanda Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun, isn't a polemic or a Dad-was-right confirmation of the status quo. To quote the Rumpus' review, Falcons has a "single-minded focus on the damage done to civil life by war, the negation of the social."

Actually, you should go ahead and read what the Rumpus had to say about this book, because their take on it is far more articulate than mine. All I will add is that this book, through the characters of Salim and Khalil, captures what it's like to try and keep one's life simple and small and coherent when extenuating circumstances (war, in this case) stretch it into something big and impersonal and complex.

I'd also like to say that Sirois is a meticulous writer who doesn't employ much of the vivid or poetic language one might expect from a novel about war in a foreign country (foreign to America, anyway), and parcels out moments of serenity in such a way that the reader has to work for them, but this works in his favor for a novel as stark and focused on the personal as this one needed to be. This book can be bleak, but it is not without rewards.

Now then, I've still got Ken Sparling's Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall and Michael Kimball's Big Ray to finish, and a ridiculous NaNo project on my plate until the end of the month. Onward to glory!