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The Farther Shore by Matthew Eck

The Farther Shore

by Matthew Eck

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This might be worth searching out if it sounds up your alley. It's a relatively short war novel published just last year, though it deals with one of the many civil wars in Africa during the 90s instead of a more current conflict. It is a first novel, which shows through in spots, but overall it's a good read for what it is. There are some points where I wanted the author to slow down a bit since at times it seems as if he's just rushing to get out all of the plot/ideas, but there are times when the thoughts of the narrator/main character are striking enough to carry you through other ideas you wish were more developed. I do feel like he could have given his characters more time to mature and come across as fuller figures, but I think someone interested in war-related literature will still find this worth their time for the fullness of the narrator alone, whose voice comes across as authentic, as does the book as a whole. I can't say that it lives up to critics' grand praise as the next [Red Badge of Courage] or even necessarily "the first great war novel of our generation", but it's worth a look, and [[Eck]] is worth keeping an ear out for in the future. For a first novel, this is good. ( )
1 vote whitewavedarling | Jan 4, 2009 |
This book-I'd call it a novella--has perhaps the most important criterion met of a book this short: I wanted it to be longer! The author lays out a wonderfully accessible story written in the first person of a military maneuver gone awry. Set in Africa, during the 1990's presumably, the book is only 170 pages. The story is exclusive and tightly-knit, and the author thankfully has tried to extend it by making the book an obvious indictment of war, and does not delve too deeply into the political regimes, the American political perspectives, or sociological critiques of the 'African Problem' or poverty.

This true-to-life story follows a protagonist with at most three other men through a harrowing and bloody military experience that harkens to Black Hawk Down. The dialogue and feelings seem redolent of 'real warfare' and some seems may be too gritty for all audiences. I read this fast, but it does induce thoughtfulness and appreciation--with lots of cool military details helping the reader imagine how soldiers fighting in the desert and in urban guerilla settings really do their job. ( )
1 vote shawnd | Jun 30, 2008 |
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"When a small unit of soldiers is separated from their command and left to defend themselves in a hostile city, their only option is th keep moving, to evade the maurading gangs and tribesman who rule the streets. As they wander, encountering a series of surreal episodes and haunting characters, the line between friend and enemy is blurred beyond recognition, along with the sanity of those who survive."--Book jacket.… (more)

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