Brian Van Reet

Wall Street Journal Review of Spoils
2 May 2017, 13:17
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Review (behind paywall) by Sam Sacks:

Original, deftly plotted and incisively intelligent. The chapters are divided into three converging points of view….The most eye-opening sections are those narrated by…Abu Al-Hool, an aging veteran of Afghanistan and Chechnya who has become disenchanted by the salted-earth tactics of the extremists flocking to Iraq like bloody-minded pilgrims…Mr. Van Reet occupies these sparring perspectives with impressive balance and dispassion, avoiding the sense of victimhood that often saturates fiction about American soldiers in Iraq. Though the novel offers no pat resolutions, a strange and surprising connection emerges between captive and captors. “I always had an idea of what the Americans would be like,” a young jihadist confides. “But they are different than I thought. They’re just people.”


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