Our Man in Iraq
A local journalist sends a distant relative to report on the war in Iraq, while he stays at home to sort out his love life and his professional career - all to varying degrees of success. As time goes on, things begin to unravel and he ends up having to fake his missing cousin’s reports while struggling to hold on to his actress girlfriend. Our Man in Iraq is a take on the Iraqi conflict from the other side of Europe, where politics and nepotism collide and the confusing aftereffects of the recent Yugoslav wars mix with the joys and trials of modern life.
"Despite the serious themes, the novel is largely comic and in many ways falls into the genre of satirical anti-war novels that includes The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Perišić constructs a series of long and entertaining scenes full of quirky dialogue and rhythmic interior monologue."
Josip Novakovich, TLS, July 12, 2013
"What’s most compelling about Perisic’s novel are the relentlessly insightful one-liners, offering poignant commentary on the unsettled day-to-day of a society trying to find its footing after devastating violence and in the throes of nascent capitalism. . . . This smart, cutting book powerfully illustrates the horrible hangover of war."
''In general terms, there are only a few tests of a good book. The first and really big one, however, is whether you want to know what happens next. The second, which obviously does not apply if you are reading science fiction or a historical romance, say, is whether you think, “Yes, exactly!” about descriptions of people and places. I am not Croatian, but I am a journalist and I know lots of the people in this book – not literally, of course, but I recognise their characters. All the way through, not only did want to know what happened next, but I kept thinking, “Yes, exactly!”
Tim Judah, Balkans correspondent for The Economist
''With formidable insight, élan and a noir-ish relish of backstreet manoeuvres, Perišic asks how a nation can move on after conflict, how citizens can overcome the feeling that “Whoever survived all that Balkan shit, whoever breathed the fumes of that hell, had to feel defeat.'' ' James Hopkin, Prospect Magazine
''I must say Will Firth and Istros books have yet again managed to dig up another gem of Balkan fiction .'' Stu Allen, Winstonsdad Blog
''Perišič’s wit is complemented by his insight into the dynamics of human relationships. This comes across most strongly in his descriptions of the ebb and flow of Toni’s interactions with his live-in girlfriend, Sanja'' A Year of Reading the World
''This smartly written novel could be called “Franzen from post communism” because of its social aspects and thriller elements; it presents some typical characters and situations of today's life in post communist countries torn by economic problems, political conflicts and social and ethical confusion.'' Culturenet
''By placing his novel in Croatia in the early 21st century, Perišić has mined a rich vein to create an engaging story of personal and collective morality, responsibility and freedom. He shows, too, how the opportunities available in a country still coming to terms with its own renewal can corrupt people from both sides of any blurred moral divide.'' Marcus Agar, W!ildRooster
Our Man in Iraq is an entertaining tale of contemporary Croatia in a time of continued uncertainty (as especially those early days of the invasion of Iraq were). Toni is a successfully-drawn and presented protagonist, and the situations he finds himself in plausible enough, even as they begin to verge on the absurd.
Our Man in Iraq is published in a North American edition by Black Balloon Press.
Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perišič: Istros Books, 2012
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