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We Are Now Beginning Our Descent Kindle Edition
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This latter narrative strand, along with Meek's own journalistic past, means that it is tempting to view We Are Now Beginning Our Descent as autobiographical to a certain extent, or at least addresses issues directly relevant to Meek's own experiences in writing. One passage in particular suggests as much, when Kellas' friend M'Gurgan contemplates how and why people write. He suggests that there are two kinds of writers - bards, who write principally to entertain people ("He remembers the people he meets and makes history out of things that have only just happened") and priests, who search for higher meanings and ideas ("The way the priest sees it, truth is more important than happiness").
From the evidence here however it seems Meek is comfortable with both approaches. The book is a fast paced, entertaining read, but also raises big questions about the modern world - such as how can a war-time journalist ever be detached from the conflict he is reporting on? Or how can love survive in a world of such huge distances? (A point emphasised by the many different locations.) However, whilst accomplished and at times thought-provoking, I believe Meek capable of better.Read more ›
'We Are Now Beginning Our Descent", when most of us hear these words, we are relieved, we are reaching our destination. However, these words written by James Meek have a totally different connotation. In the context of this novel, America, full of its own power is losing altitude and coming to face the power and anger of the third world. James Meek has the ability in his precise and so thoughtfully written prose, to put us in our place with many reminders of where we have been and how silly and frightening the lies and power of the United States have become. It seems most every other country has faced these idols. Now, James Meek tells us we must face ours.
Adam Kellas is an English journalist who portrays the guilt of the West in his behaviors. He has his entire life, done whatever he wanted, when he wanted, with no thought of anyone else. Relationships come and go, friendships are sometimes built of straw, and his career is as aimless as his thoughts. He is offered a job in Afghanistan to report on the war. At first, he says no, but then realizes he does not want to be thought of as a coward. His last relationship has ended, he is at loose ends. He hops a plane and in a matter of hours is in Afghanistan, joining other journalists. All of them intelligent and talented, but many without any goal but to be the first reporting the War.Read more ›
Adam Kellas, a Scot, is a correspondent in Afghanistan who is writing a fast-paced bestseller, ‘Rogue Eagle Rising’, indeed the book opens with one of its violent scenes, but finds it difficult to make and maintain relationships, although the women that he is attracted are by no means easy. Kellas is on the point of exploding throughout this novel and eventually does so at a Campden Town dinner party.
Indeed, this event had been referred to so often that I almost gave up hope of reading about it. It is eventually described as a flashback apparently told to a fellow first-class trans-Atlantic passenger. Meek is very good at integrating flashbacks into his ongoing narrative but sometimes this device seems almost to take over the book which transports the reader to Afghanistan, London, Scotland, New York, the island of Chincoteague in Virginia, and Iraq.
The war reporters are differentiated by nationality: ‘The Brits play soldier-explorers; the Americans doubled up as missionaries and prospectors. The French were buccaneering scientists, the kind who would kill to get the sarcophagus or bacilli back home before a rival; the Germans cast themselves as students on their study year abroad; the Japanese, astronauts landing on a foreign planet’.
‘Rogue Eagle Rising’ and Meek’s own title describe the rises and falls of Kellas’ career, his relationship to gun-toting American magazine reporter, Astrid Walsh, and to Kellas’ book itself.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Complex material, story is a bit of a travelogue and slowish. Some of the material is astonishingly lyrical and stimulating. Humanising?Published 14 months ago by FatManInBathtub
Oh dear, I thought, as I read the opening pages of this book. It was truly terrible writing – a gung ho adventure with every cliché going. Read morePublished on 8 Feb. 2015 by Wynne Kelly
Certainly worth reading though if you haven't read it yet The People's Act of Love is a 5 star alternative.Published on 18 July 2014 by Lyracat
British war correspondent James Meek shows a love story can captivate readers even if both lovers are rather weird and somewhat despicable persons. Well written.Published on 13 Mar. 2013 by S. Hare
Like many reviewers I have mixed feelings about this book. The language is at times dazzling and though Adam is not a wholly likeable character I felt sympathetic towards him and... Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2010 by meg keir
Adam Kellas, English journalist, meets Astrid Walsh, American journalist, when they are covering Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. They become close. Read morePublished on 17 May 2010 by SusieH
I was really looking forward to this; 'The People's Act of Love' was a quite outstanding achievement and the blurb for this sounded great, but overall I feel let down. Read morePublished on 27 Sept. 2009 by Asmar Chaudhry, Manchester, UK
I decided to read "The People's Act of Love" because although it was not the subject of a review programme, nonetheless one of the reviewers mentioned it in passing with glowing,... Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2009 by Herman Norford