Here are five titles that deeply impressed me of the 100 or so I’ve read this year. Each helps illuminate some aspect of global affairs, often in ways that can make us uncomfortable. The best books challenge us, and these are all in that category.
"Dark at the Crossing" by Elliot Ackerman. This National Book Award finalist, by a former combat Marine, White House fellow, CIA Special Forces operative and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy graduate, revolves around a quixotic mission to the ambiguous border between Turkey and Syria. It doesn’t end well -- but the novel gives a military perspective on the way tragedy can, in the end, elevate our lives.
"Exit West" by Mohsin Hamid. In another novel that channels the Syrian disaster, the protagonists find a way to “exit west” by moving through a series of magical doors that take them from an unnamed war-torn region (Syria) to a refugee camp (Greece) then on to a Western city (London). The voyage of these modern Argonauts, often blackly humorous in the magical-realist style, brings us face-to-face with the worst humanitarian crisis of this decade.
Read the full article