Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: Falcons on the Floor by Justin Sirois

Sirois, Justin. Falcons on the floor. Baltimore, Maryland: Publishing Genius Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9831706-4-8. Softcover, 264 pp.
Update July 24, 2016

I ordered this book on January 10, 2012, and it arrived shortly thereafter, but I've only now gotten around to reading it.

This book, by genre, could be Young Adult because the protagonists, both American and Iraqi, are all in their early 20s, and the narrators are those protagonists. There may be too much profanity for it to be placed in the library recommended reading list for this summer.

The writing is excellent, and I say that as a reader who enjoys action in his fiction novels.

There is a certain buddy cop vibe to the two main Iraqi characters, Salim and Khalil. But the novel is more Albert Camus and Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov.

I am less and less sure that it is every possible for us in our comfortable North American life to understand the soldiers our governments send abroad in these occupations, much less those who live under occupation.

What I like most about this novel is that none of the characters, no matter how minor their roles, comes across as absolutely evil or good. Even the senior members of the Fallujah insurgency, whose reckless actions invite destruction on Salim and Khalil and the entire city, come across as human characters whose actions, had the story been told through their point of view, would make as much sense as Salim's and Khalil's. And in the pressure of war, nobody really makes sense.

I'm going to have to lighten up for the next book I read. I got a collection of short stories based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

You can follow Justin on Twitter and read his blog. Also, check out The Understanding Campaign, which Justin promotes.

Update 2013-Jun-12: Joe Hall wrote a better review of this than I did.

A couple of thoughts added on: