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The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau
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's review
Feb 11, 12

bookshelves: work-review-related-reading
Read in February, 2012

This is a debut novel about a Muslim boy (in a never named foreign country), orphaned by an American military operation gone terribly wrong, and his new life in America thanks to an international relief organization. It is the story of Younis (who Americanized himself to Jonas during the air flight over), and how he is trying to adjust to life in Pittsburgh and his very Christian foster family. This is easier said than done, of course, and Dau takes us through Jonas' turmoils, the real time hostility around him as well as the inner nightmare of how and why he survived when his family did not. Told in the short vignettes, we follow Jonas into young adulthood, steadily being fed faint details of his inner demons, many centering around the American soldier who saved him but then went missing in action. Piece by piece, the picture becomes heartbreakingly clear. The costs of war are not just in dollars, and they aren't always paid completely on the battlefield. This is a stunningly nuanced novel, and a gem of a debut.
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