Jessica's Reviews > The Watch

The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya
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Jun 09, 12

Read in June, 2012

Wow. I really wanted to like this book. There is almost nothing in the world of fiction about the war in Afghanistan, and that complicated place is begging for a way to be understood - or not understood, as the case may be. Roy-Bhattacharya seemed like a good candidate to introduce people to the complexities of that land, and to the Americans who have now been laboring there for more than a decade. But he fails. Technically, all the pieces are in place: bewildered, working-class grunts; exhausted NCO's; family members of the fallen with nothing but relief on their minds. There's a suicide victim, a raring to get back in the game injured soldier, and lots of love lost all over the damn place. But, ugh! The proselytizing and preachiness of this book nearly drove me insane. It was all I could do to finish it. The writing is just terrible, and it's clear that Roy-Batthacharya has never been around veterans for any length of time. He puts words and ideas into their mouths that are eye-rolling, groan inspiring - altogether embarrassing. Even if these guys did think this stuff, they'd never, ever say it this way, and certainly not to the people they say it to here. Marks for having all the ideas in place, but the execution leaves oh! so much to be desired. If you're looking for something to help you understand the intimacy and futility of war, read Matterhorn. Even though it's about Vietnam and not Afghanistan, you'll get a much better feel for the questions and destruction that war leaves in its wake.
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