The End of Manners

Francesca Marciano, Author . Pantheon $23.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-375-42510-3

In Marciano’s brisk third novel (after Rules of the Wild and Casa Rossa ), an unlikely pair of women are dispatched to war-torn Afghanistan circa 2004 to report a story about young Afghan women attempting suicide rather than entering into arranged marriages. Imo Glass is a flamboyant magazine writer who wants the story no matter what societal taboos she tramples. Maria Galante, an award-winning but emotionally withdrawn photojournalist, has forsaken dangerous assignments to take pictures of fancy food for fancy magazines, until her agent persuades her to take this job. With a fluid mix of gritty irony and palpable fear, Marciano’s evocation of landscape and environment brilliantly captures a devastated Kabul, a messy war and the soulless arms dealers and cold-blooded mercenaries drawn to the fractured nation by the lure of money. Equally intense is her compassionate depiction of a culture where taking photos of women is forbidden and religious doctrine dictates the way of life in “a world of a far greater insanity” than Maria, for one, had envisioned. This work of fiction, rooted in harsh reality, tackles moral complexities with powerful self-assurance. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/14/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 181 pages - 978-0-307-37753-1
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-307-38674-8
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