Pope's first novel is a harrowing, intense account of Lebanon's civil war of 1975-1976 and its bloody aftermath, focusing on the personal dimensions of the tragedy. Sent to Lebanon in 1978 as a correspondent for the World Council of Churches, the author spent more than a year in that ravaged country, including a stint living in a Palestinian refugee camp. Two figures dominate the novel. The more convincing of the two, Elie, a Maronite Catholic and Phalangist soldier, becomes disillusioned with his colleagues' wanton brutality. After criticizing them for paying lip service to the Palestinian cause while depriving Palestinian refugees of basic rights, he is labeled a traitor. The other, Morgan, seems more a staple of slick espionage thrillers. A blonde and icy Radcliffe graduate, she's a former Manhattan prostitute turned CIA agent who's working with the Israelis on the eve of Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Other characters are more original, however, and Pope's kaleidoscopic narrative, which ranges from underground clinics to refugee camps and torture chambers, scorchingly evokes the anarchy, mass slaughter and pervasive suffering of a nation torn apart by war. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/31/1994 Release date: 02/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
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