‘The Girl in Green’ is Derek B. Miller’s second novel. It is completely different from his first ’Norwegian By Night’ but just as brilliantly written and has just as much of an impact.
The story begins in 1991. Twenty year old American Private Arwood Hobbes is stationed in Kuwait near the Iraqi border where he meet British journalist Thomas Benton. When a nearby Shiia town is attacked by Saddam’s forces, the two men try to save a young girl in a green dress. She dies in Hobbes’s arms and the two men are deeply affected by her senseless death and their own failure.
Twenty two years later, Hobbes sees the same girl in the same green dress in news footage of a mortar attack near the Iraq Syria border. Hobbes and Benton see this as another opportunity to save the girl.
The year is 2013. The situation in Syria is deteriorating and refugees are pouring into Iraq. Different groups control different areas and ISIL is on the rise. What could possibly go wrong? The refugee camp at which the men are based offers assistance, but how can they divert resources to save one person?
One of the main messages of this novel was about the incompetence of the West in dealing with the Middle East. This extends from negotiations offering things that have no meaning through to an amazing scene in the novel involving frozen chickens.
There is a lot of cynicism and hopelessness in this novel with the occasional very small ray of hope. Three years on, Syria is in an even worse state and ISIL has continued to grow.
This was a much more difficult book to read than ‘Norwegian By Night’ but was excellent and thought provoking and at times completely depressing.
Book Published 2016