Monday, June 4, 2012

Done: "One Hundred and One Nights" by Benjamin Buchholz

Done: One Hundred and One Nights by Benjamin Buchholz, 2011, 9780316133777.

Bleh.  Did not like it.  Went on too long and not much happened.  Spoilers await.

Abu Saheeh is living in Southern Iraq in 2005 (or '06).  He is new to town and just opened a small cell phone store in a dirt road market under the local highway overpass.  As the story goes on you learn more aboout Abu and what he is really there for and what his past was like.

Told by Abu.  Buchholz used the pacing and temperament of an Iraqi and the pace was dawdling for me.

Abu is there to observe American supply convoys.  Abu is building a bomb.  Abu works for local sheik.  Abu's old pal also ended up in town.  Abu's past as Iraqi Army soldier, then civilian medical student and doctor in Chicago comes out.  Single and eligible Abu is going to marry local widow with a wealthy dad.  Abu is hallucinating.  Abu drinks a lot.  Abu's daughter was killed in a bombing in Baghdad caused by Abu's brother.  Abu plans revenge on brother.

Abu's brother arrested by Americans.  Abu cannot get revenge.  Abu ends up in Southern Iraq because Abu Ghraib is being shut down and Abu's brother being transported through southern Iraq to new prison.  Abu wants to use the bomb to stop the convoy, board the prison bus and kill his brother.  Sheik is using Abu to do this so the Sheik can put the bomb blame on Hezbollah and use the Americans to crush Hezbollah out of town.

1.  About 50-100 pages too long for me.
2.  Acid attacks.
3.  Dirt.
4.  Heat.
5.  Clan loyalty.
6. Wasn't Iraq a shit-hole of bombs and bullets and bodies in 2005 and 2006?  How peaceful would this town have been, even sitting right next to the Kuwait border?  Buchholz was soldiering there at the time and would know but the everyday violence of the time seems to have bypassed the town.

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