Sliver Of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran

Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Eamon Dolan, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-547-98553-4
In the summer of 2009, three Americans hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan crossed (or were lured) over the border into Iran and were imprisoned. Over the next two years, they suffered harsh interrogations, solitary confinement, and demoralizing uncertainty as pawns in an international stare-down between the U.S. and Iran. In their cells, the three friends struggled to maintain sanity and solidarity in the face of restricted contact with the outside world. Although Shourd was released after 14 months in captivity, Bauer and Fattal endured another year in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. The narrative alternates between the perspectives of the three prisoners. Although they each present their experience in the first person, the voices remain oddly similar. Moments of humor and insight leave the reader wishing for more. Their prison time is a tightly controlled, homogenized, and repetitious existence—down to their frequent stating of their opposition to U.S. Middle-Eastern policy. At its best, the narrative captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of daily life in prison, a life made even worse by their imperfect grasp of Persian. It’s a testament to the willpower and discipline of the three captives that they maintained their values and sense of justice through their long ordeal. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 03/18/2014
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