From the award-winning author of Norwegian by Night, a novel about two men on a misbegotten quest to save the girl they failed to save decades before
From the author of Norwegian by Night, a novel about two men on a misbegotten quest to save the girl they failed to save decades before
1991. Near Checkpoint Zulu, one hundred miles from the Kuwaiti border, Thomas Benton meets Arwood Hobbes. Benton is a British journalist who reports from war zones in part to avoid his lackluster marriage and a daughter he loves but cannot connect with; Arwood is a midwestern American private who might be an insufferable ignoramus, or might be a genuine lunatic with a death wish--it's hard to tell. Desert Storm is over, peace has been declared, but as they argue about whether it makes sense to cross the nearest border in search of an ice cream, they become embroiled in a horrific attack in which a young local girl in a green dress is killed as they are trying to protect her. The two men walk away into their respective lives. But something has cracked for them both.
Twenty-two years later, in another place, in another war, they meet again and are offered an unlikely opportunity to redeem themselves when that same girl in green is found alive and in need of salvation. Or is she?
Short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger Award, "Best Crime Novel of the Year"
One of Shelf Awareness' "Best Books of 2017"
"A modern masterpiece, The Girl in Green taps into the same satirical vein as Joseph Heller’s war classic, Catch-22... Miller... is well qualified to explore the tangled political, bureaucratic, cultural and religious issues at play in the Middle East. His tongue-in-cheek candor brings much-needed levity to the proceedings, making the difficult subject matter relatable and engaging. Bursting with humanity and humor, The Girl in Green is heartbreaking and hopeful in equal measures, delivering nail-biting suspense while bringing readers into the heart of the conflict in Iraq."—BookPage
“As daring in execution as imagination, this adventure tale crackles with heart, charm and dark honesty…Miller pulls off an amazing feat of alchemy here, because this chronicle of trauma, violence and endless conflict is the unlikely feel-good story of the year. Not only does he pepper the narrative with enough absurdist humor and one-liners to keep readers helplessly grinning at the darkest moments, he hits points of emotional resonance with the precision of a sniper. Miller understands the story readers most need…[His] style is an all-terrain vehicle...In Arwood and Benton, readers will see the kind of big personalities that carry movie franchises...A word of advice: buy The Girl in Green rather than borrow it. With the proliferation of sharp one liners, occasional droplets of poetry like ‘the buzuq sings a song for which there will never be any words,’ and insightful distillations of the intricacies and contradictions of an American conflict that slides from phase to phase without ever ending, the urge to highlight and dog-ear will overcome even the most book-proud reader.”—Shelf Awareness
"A polished and powerful commentary on the effects of war on two men—an ambitious British journalist and a clueless American soldier who meet briefly in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War in 1991...This is an excellent depiction of the complicated Iraq-Syria situation, especially the desperate plight of refugees and the West’s failure to provide peace or relief. Miller caps his stellar, electrifying story with a knockout ending."—Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review
"As in his acclaimed debut, Norwegian by Night (2013), Miller brilliantly blends offbeat reflection and dark emotion, using pop-culture references ranging from Ferris Bueller to Winnie the Pooh to underscore the killing ironies of war. A penetrating, poetic, and unexpectedly disarming book about the ageless conflict in the Middle East by a writer who has made that topic his specialty."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"[Miller's] decades of experience in international relations support this sympathetic portrayal of clashing cultures, but it is the vividly drawn, often quirky characters and timely plot that fascinate...VERDICT: Not to be missed, this is a compelling combination of literate storytelling and action-packed thriller laced with humor."—Library Journal, starred review
“Arwood and Benton are improbable knights-errant….[who] make thoroughly beguiling action-adventure heroes, and Miller’s knowledge of the chaotic and vicious Syrian civil war and the dogged efforts of NGO workers to care for the war’s refugees set the scene brilliantly. The Girl in Green is a worthy follow-up to Miller’s fine debut.”—Booklist, starred review
“The Girl in Green is swift, gripping, and mined with surprises. Miller's language slows and blooms when he is writing of love, obligation, duty or truth, then rockets to pace when the topic turns to the armed checkpoint ten cars ahead of you. And his characters are incredible—or rather, they’re totally credible, and braided seamlessly into an incredible story. Arwood Hobbes is as intriguing an operative as Graham Greene's quiet American, but without the quiet.”—David Shafer, author of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
"The Girl in Green is a Catch-22 for the twenty-first century. You'll laugh so hard you'll cry tears of blood."—Madison Smartt Bell, award-winning author of All Souls' Rising and many others
"Wars are never fully left behind on the battlefield, are they? They’re carried home like burrs in a soldier’s clothing. And they prick and scrape the skin for years and years and years. In Derek B. Miller’s new novel, a soldier and a journalist each witness a terrible attack during Operation Desert Storm and carry those burr-like images with them long after they return home....until another war comes along and they finally have to confront their feelings about what they saw. As an author of a novel about Operation Iraqi Freedom, I get a steady flood of war literature cascading across my desk each month. The Girl in Green has managed to rise above the tide—thanks to the tantalizing story and the promise of the opening lines on the first page—and I’ve put it near the top of my summer-reading pile."—David Abrams, author of Fobbit and blogger at The Quivering Pen
“Derek B. Miller’s follow up to his prize-winning debut novel, Norwegian by Night, provides a stunning and unsettling insight into the troubled landscape of the Middle East and a soul-searching exploration of Western foreign policy…Written with Miller’s incisive wit, intelligence, compassion and authenticity, this is a novel from a writer fast becoming a master of his craft.”—Evening Post (UK)
“Miller dives into the complex and confusing world of the Middle East with a depth of knowledge of the region and the forces at play that is obvious on every page. His writing is direct and powerful — it’s impossible to read this without becoming angry and upset, but there is humor too, and just enough hope. I found aspects horrifying, even more so because I knew it was true. His first book, Norwegian By Night, was one of my favorite books of 2013, and I think this one’s even better. Verdict: heart-thumping thriller.”—Herald Sun (Australia)
“Thrillers using conflict in the Middle East as a backdrop aren't thin on the ground, but Derek B. Miller's The Girl in Green stands above most, both in literary ambition and the complexity of its engagement with the region's geopolitics….Written before the rise of Islamic State, The Girl in Green is a suspenseful, character-driven, and eerily prescient moral thriller.”—The Age (Australia)
“Derek B. Miller’s powerful debut Norwegian By Night had a range of concerns, but quickly plunged readers deep into Nordic noir territory, with murder, brutal Balkan villains and a frantic cross-country chase. The Girl in Green is very different, with Iraq its subject. British journo Thomas Benton joins a group hoping to make up for the death of a local girl a decade earlier in Ope...
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