Written by Tim Murphy
Review by Hilary Daninhirsch

This is an absorbing and candid behind-the-scenes journey into the life of a foreign correspondent. Rita Khoury is an Irish-Lebanese-American woman who is stationed in Iraq in the early 2000s after 9/11, working for a major news outlet. With her cultural background and knowledge of Arabic, she feels both out of place and at home in Iraq. Still, she feels disconnected from her loved ones and displaced from America when she spends so much time abroad. While she is away from her family and covering important events in a dangerous area of the world, she tries to balance a normal life with love and friends. When a judgment error and a betrayal place her career in jeopardy, Rita is forced to reevaluate her life’s goals and what is most important to her.

Another major character, Nabil, is an Iraqi who meets Rita when he works as her translator. Nabil is hiding a major secret from his family, something that could get him killed. His story and Rita’s story eventually converge.

The book spans almost a century, tracing Rita’s family history, which gives the reader a broad overview about the underlying complexity and beauty of two cultures merging. The reader should know in advance that there are some disturbing scenes in the book; in the prologue, the reader is forewarned that a catastrophic event is about to occur, and the rest of the book is an in-your-face, gritty reality check about the devastating effects of war. There’s a lot happening in this book and, while uncomfortable to read at times, is told in an authentic voice. It is one that will cross your mind regularly long after you close the cover.