The Shattered Lens: A War Photographer’s 81 Days of Captivity in Syria—A Story of Survival

Jonathan Alpeyrie with Stash Luczkiw. Atria, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5011-4650-3
A keen photojournalist’s eye serves Alpeyrie well as he painstakingly recounts his capture in 2013 by rebels during Syria’s civil war. The Paris-born American is an extraordinary observer of the suspenseful (as when plotting an elaborate escape attempt) and the routine (as when describing the defiance of unscrewing a light tube so he could sleep at night) activities that a hostage must reconcile in order to keep his sanity. Beyond the fascinating details he provides, Alpeyrie is a sympathetic narrator, sober about the causes of war and his relative suffering in it (he is beaten, often chained to his bed, and is forced to urinate into and drink from the same glass). The second half of the book serves as a forum for his open-minded, authoritative views on geopolitics, the clash of cultures, his own profession, and the ethics and intrigue of hostage taking that are as engaging and honest as the account of his ordeal. Throughout, he offers frank discussions about the illusion of freedom and the lure of violence, and offers a touching appreciation for the parental love and support he receives. The author both humanizes and scrutinizes his captors, whom he provides with tips on working out, having sex (which he demonstrates on a pillow), and swimming at a nearby pool. In this harrowing story, Alpeyrie offers insights that deserve attention. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 10/10/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-1-5011-4653-4
Audio Product - 978-1-5011-4654-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5200-8362-9
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