15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A book you have to read, that's actually gripping and exciting too,
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This review is from: We Are Now Beginning Our Descent (Hardcover)
I must be one of the few people reading this new book by Meek who HAVEN'T read 2006's favourite "The People's Act of Love". I bought "We Are Now Beginning..." because I loved Meek's short story about the devil trying to tempt a woman who has given up material goods; the devil almost falls in love with her he gets so obsessed with her lack of interest in him... In a way I can see how this (AMAZING) book relates to that story. Although on the surface this is a book about a war reporter, "embedded" in Afghanistan, it's really about love and how that works.
Let me tell you just some of the good things about this book:
1) there is some absolutely beautiful writing: "Big broken Soviet helicopter gunships sat in the mulberry groves like worn-out hounds slumped in the shade".
2) there are some of those thoughts that you ponder over for hours afterwards: "Now he wondered if the meeting of eyes, even lovers' eyes, was nothing but a more refined form of blindness."
or: "Here it was almost impossile to distinguish between constancy to a cause and madness. If you wanted to be virtuous, you had to accept that virtue would have a crooked shape."
3) it has the genuine tang of a book written by someone who's actually been there, who is confident in writing about a place and telling you things about it you might never have imagined. The moment that Kellas (the main character) realises that his translator, Mohammed, might not be all that glad to have exchanged shalwar kameez for a suit - says it all.
The bits of the book I liked least were the bits set in Camden! Amongst media folk! they were the least believable bit for me!! And there's also a great section (I don't want to spoil any of it) set in America.
Really, really read this book. It's enjoyable, it's not heavy, but it's something completely different to anything else you might see. I think it would appeal to Ian McEwan readers, but it's much more poetically written. And it has a kind of love story too - a gorgeous ambiguous version of a love story.
A real cut above.