This book, with it’s flashes of brilliance and thorough weirdness is hard for me to rate. It is the kind of book that Booker judges love. Clever, ridiculously funny in parts while it’s utter grimness makes it not amusing in the slightest. There is no doubt that the author is a master of metaphor and the writing is engaging, particularly in the beginning and end but I found myself having to re-read parts to figure out whose voice I was reading.
Ellie is a pilot whose plane has come down in the desert while he is on a bombing run. He is starving, dying of thirst and reflecting on his relationship with Cath his wife while he slowly runs out of life. Mutt is a dog, fed up with the treatment he receives, he has headed out into the desert to die and comes across Ellie much to his annoyance. Next up is Momo, a teenage boy who arrives to collect Mutt and who is convinced that Ellie is stealing his dog. Ellie eventually convinces Momo to give him a ride to his village which turns out to the be the refugee camp that he was supposed to be bombing in the first place. So far so funny! But it is the kind of funny which is tinged with tragedy, threat and sorrow. The characters you meet will each have so many sadnesses as they deal with the realities of life under threat by the very armed force that supposedly keeps them safe. It is lies upon lies and weirdness galore.
I loved the final chapters of this book but the middle section was like a metaphysical journey where I was never quite sure what I was reading. I guess that was intentional, this book takes you on a journey into a world seldom seen, these people are forgotten in so many ways.
I didn’t love this book but I think it is clever and interesting and I’m glad I chose it. It is a reminder that war is much bigger than the battle at the frontline.
Thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for giving me access to this book.