Monday, November 09, 2009

Scott Anderson: Moonlight Hotel

I guess Scott Anderson is a fancy war correspondent and knows how these things go down: who better to write a satirical novel about a fake war in a fake country that the very real US messes up and then ... "fixes." Though the novel starts off slowly, it picks up steam until it's extremely hard to put down. It's the early or mid-80s and David Richard and his unlikely cohorts get stuck in Kutar, the fictional country (something like Iraq or Afghanistan), after Richards is almost done with his two years of a foreign service tour. During the two years, it's all the State Department can do to even get the US to acknowledge Kutar exists. Although there has always been inter-country-strife (the borders were artificially created by colonial parties, of course), the Pentagon takes sudden interest and manages to create a mountain of trouble for everyone involved. Though "Moonlight Hotel" takes place in the '80s, Anderson writes with post-9/11 insight. The book nicely complements all of the nonfiction about the deceptive government policies in Vietnam, Central America, and for decades in Afghanistan and Iraq.