Dark at the Crossing - Elliot Ackerman

Staff Pick

When asked, Haris Abadi describes himself as an Iraqi and an American. He means that he was born in Iraq but traded his first identity for American citizenship after working as an interpreter for the occupying American forces. Somewhere in the transaction, the two loyalties canceled each other out and Haris lost track of himself. As Dark at the Crossing (Knopf, 25.95) opens, Haris is in Antep, Turkey (“a city with two names and three meanings”), hoping to regain a sense of purpose by joining the struggle against the al-Assad regime in Syria. But the border is closed, and Elliot Ackerman’s powerful and poignant second novel follows his protagonist’s efforts to find a way across. As Haris faces the disappearance of his fixer; is betrayed, robbed, and beaten by a guide; and tours the Syrian ward of the local hospital, where both the dying and the dead are stashed in the morgue, his experiences give a close, yet panoramic view of the Syrian civil war and its regional fallout. At the same time, Haris’ recurrent flashbacks of the interrogations and searches he participated in with the Americans in Iraq reflect that he is also stuck at an internal psychological border. So, too, is Daphne, a Syrian refugee Haris befriends. Certain that her daughter is still alive, she wants to return to Aleppo and find her. Incredibly, though the conflict has left Daphne with nothing, she feels that “war can be a blessing… If you’re trapped, its destruction can free you.” Ackerman, a former Marine who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and has covered Syria since 2013, is unflinching in his depiction of what war can do.

Dark at the Crossing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101947371
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - January 24th, 2017

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