Following the bombing of the American Marine barracks in Beirut, an Italian soldier stationed in that strife-torn city comments upon the event and its reverberations
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
Civil war-torn Beirut is the setting for Fallaci's ( A Man ) latest work, a powerful, labyrinthine study of human character in apocalyptic circumstances. The novel takes place in the fall of 1983, when a barracks bombing killed dozens of U.S. Marines. At the headquarters of the Italian peacekeeping contingent, a rich cast of characters confronts the unpredictable brutality of religious conflict. The unit's general, called Condor; Charlie, a self-styled counterespionage agent; Pistoira, a swaggering killer; Sugar, the bookish munitions expert, and other uniformed misfits struggle to survive an impossible mission. Rendering the complex antagonisms of contemporary Beirut, Fallaci shows a talent for incisively capturing classic human foibles, as one beleaguered soldier after another tries to negotiate the cultural borders of a chaotic city. In the novel's climactic scenes, the Italian troops, like the well-meaning armies of other nations, are obliged to withdraw before an inferno of religious fanaticism. In prose dense with details and asides, Fallaci starkly conveys Beirut's nihilistic atmosphere; her depiction of the futility of combat is acerbic, and her narrative fully reflects the ironies that emerge when men behave like beasts.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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