MixedThe Guardian (UK)The book has that contradictory impulse of much army fiction, in which compulsory military service is depicted as brutalising a nation\'s young adults (what it does to those living under military occupation is not in the frame), as well as an elevating rites-of-passage ... Initially the prose seems charmingly stilted, but soon it starts to grate like a bad translation. That\'s when you wish that the author had had a less indulgent editor, because there is so much good writing here: memorable detail and sharp storytelling that often gets lost amid the bad metaphors and narrative drag ... The parts that stand out are surreal comic set pieces in the vein of Catch-22 ... The narrative feels more like a succession of vignettes – it isn\'t strong enough to make me care about the characters, or carry the book through to its end.