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The Watch
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The Watch
A Novel
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This heartbreaking and haunting novel takes a timeless tragedy and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan, when a woman asks for the return of her brother's body in the midst of a war. Following a...
This heartbreaking and haunting novel takes a timeless tragedy and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan, when a woman asks for the return of her brother's body in the midst of a war. Following a...
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Description-

  • This heartbreaking and haunting novel takes a timeless tragedy and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan, when a woman asks for the return of her brother's body in the midst of a war.

    Following a desperate night-long battle, a group of beleaguered soldiers in an isolated base in Kandahar are faced with a lone woman demanding the return of her brother’s body. Is she a spy, a black widow, a lunatic, or is she what she claims to be: a grieving young sister intent on burying her brother according to local rites? Single-minded in her mission, she refuses to move from her spot on the field in full view of every soldier in the stark outpost. Her presence quickly proves dangerous as the camp’s tense, claustrophobic atmosphere comes to a boil when the men begin arguing about what to do next.

    Taking its cues from the Antigone myth, Roy-Bhattacharya brilliantly recreates the chaos, intensity, and immediacy of battle, and conveys the inevitable repercussions felt by the soldiers, their families, and by one sister. The result is a gripping tour through the reality of this very contemporary conflict, and our most powerful expression to date of the nature and futility of war.

About the Author-

  • Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya was born in Jamshedpur, India, and educated in politics and philosophy at Calcutta University and the University of Pennsylvania. His previous two novels, The Gabriel Club and The Storyteller of Marrakesh have been published in fourteen languages in eighteen countries. He lives in upstate New York. Visit him at joydeeproybhattacharya.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 12, 2012
    When a vicious firefight erupts after the Taliban attack a mountainous, remote American military garrison, Combat Outpost Tarsândan in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, the American forces suffer heavy losses, including their popular Lt. Nick Frobenius. Then Nizam, a legless Pashtun girl, scuttles up on the “bleak wasteland” battlefield with a request to bury her slain Pashtun brother according to the tenets of their faith. The straitlaced leader, Capt. Evan Connolly, rejects her claim that her brother wasn’t a Taliban commander and orders the obstinate, proud girl to leave. Her refusal triggers a bizarre, poignant two-day standoff between the girl and the U.S. military, during which the Americans begin to doubt their purpose in Afghanistan. The officers and GIs, seeing the folly of their mission, lobby Connolly to give the body, which the U.S. military plans to use for anti-Taliban propaganda purposes, to Nizam for a proper interment. Seamless time shifts illuminate the well-drawn stories of many soldiers, the most thorough of which is assembled from the journals kept by Lieutenant Frobenius, a classics scholar. Every war spawns its major literary works, and Roy-Bhattacharya’s (The Storyteller of Marrakesh) powerful, modern take on the Afghanistan armed conflict resonates with the echoes of Joseph Heller, Tim O’Brien, and Robert Stone. Agent: Nicole Aragi, the Aragi Agency.

  • The Boston Bibliophile "The power of Roy-Bhattacharya's novel is his understanding of all the motivations driving his players. None of their reasons is unreasonable... except as perceived by the other side... Roy-Bhattacharya's brutally honest portrayal of a remote Afghan confrontation explores the complexities of America's longest war." –Shelf Awareness

    "If you want a book that's going to pull you in a dozen different emotional directions, confuse you, intrigue you, then rip your heart into shreds, The Watch is the book for you. It's a brilliant, multi-dimensional examination of the war in Afghanistan told from different points of view. [A] really incredible book. It will truly stay with you for a long time after you put it down, and you won't want to."
  • USA Today Summer Books Literary Fiction Pick "What it's about: Set in modern Afghanistan, this tragic tale about a sister who demands that American soldiers return her brother's body echoes the Greek tragedy 'Antigone.' -Why it's hot: 'Publishers Weekly' compared the Indian-born novelist to past masters of the war novel like Joseph Heller, Tim O'Brien and Robert Stone."
  • Christian Science Monitor Best Books of Summer 2012 "Indian novelist Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya adapts the Greek tragedy of Antigone to present-day Afghanistan, telling a harrowing story of a woman who demands the return of her brother's body and refuses to leave a US military base in Kandahar."
  • The Columbus Dispatch "[A] poignant tale of the war in Afghanistan. Inevitable repercussions for the soldiers and citizens of the country play out viscerally in a plot that takes its cues from the Antigone myth."
  • The Poughkeepsie Journal "When a woman approaches a group of soldiers based in Kandahar demanding they procure her brother's body, they must wonder if her intentions are pure, if she suffers from insanity or if she has ulterior motives. Either way, she remains resolute in her mission, stationing herself alongside the army base causing tensions among the soldiers, unsure of how to handle the situation. Through this lens, Roy-Bhattacharya uses a familiar story of loss to examine Afghanistan as it exists today."

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    Random House Publishing Group
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