Oriana Fallaci, Author, James Marcus, Translator Nan A. Talese $25 (599p) ISBN 978-0-385-41987-1
Civil war-torn Beirut is the setting for Fallaci's ( A Man ) latest work, a powerful, labyrinthine study of human character in apocalyptic circumstances. The novel takes place in the fall of 1983, when a barracks bombing killed dozens of U.S. Marines. At the headquarters of the Italian peacekeeping contingent, a rich cast of characters confronts the unpredictable brutality of religious conflict. The unit's general, called Condor; Charlie, a self-styled counterespionage agent; Pistoira, a swaggering killer; Sugar, the bookish munitions expert, and other uniformed misfits struggle to survive an impossible mission. Rendering the complex antagonisms of contemporary Beirut, Fallaci shows a talent for incisively capturing classic human foibles, as one beleaguered soldier after another tries to negotiate the cultural borders of a chaotic city. In the novel's climactic scenes, the Italian troops, like the well-meaning armies of other nations, are obliged to withdraw before an inferno of religious fanaticism. In prose dense with details and asides, Fallaci starkly conveys Beirut's nihilistic atmosphere; her depiction of the futility of combat is acerbic, and her narrative fully reflects the ironies that emerge when men behave like beasts. (Nov)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
Discover what to read next