Sarah Cypher's Reviews > One Hundred and One Nights

One Hundred and One Nights by Benjamin Buchholz
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's review
Oct 25, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: gave-up-on
Read from February 08 to March 27, 2012

Constructed around a mysterious narrator's appearance in Southern Iraqi town during the Iraq War, the novel uses an almost military pattern of repetition to peel back the layers on the narrator's role in the town's politics. We learn he is an aristocratic-born, Western-educated doctor in hiding, and only a few of the townspeople share his secret--but the faerie-like Leila, a young female visitor, threatens to upset his plan.

I wanted to love this book, and may return to it later this year. I set it aside after encountering a disturbing scene of animal cruelty (sorry, often one of my dealbreakers for a book's sensibility), and though the scene served its part in the book I had a hard time picking it back up again and continuing. Once you lose momentum, it's tough to get it back--even when there is a good mystery in the making.

Buchholz is otherwise a deft writer with a surprisingly lyrical style. He writes from his experience as a US soldier in the world and maintains an interesting blog of Middle Eastern contradictions, Not Quite Right.
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