Sundaram’s greatest gift as a writer is a flat prose style, so drained of emotional subtlety that it creates a mood of intense creepiness. One gets the impression of a tale told by a teller with hollow and empty eyes. The oddly detached writing style serves the book well ... Readers expecting conventional wartime journalism won’t find it here, nor will they find any rigid examinations of the heart or a convincing autopsy of why an overseas correspondent’s marriage comes to an end (a common fate). What they’ll find instead is a unique snapshot of one of the world’s forgotten zones.
Sundaram’s descriptions of wartime Central Africa are riveting, and his political analysis is intriguing. The detached tone, however, provides little insight into Sundaram’s feelings about either the atrocities he witnessed or the family he left behind, leaving readers with more questions than answers. An introspective, emotionally detached memoir about war and family.
Concise history lessons explain how colonial rule exacerbated the conflict, and Sundaram makes the country’s complex political and religious landscape accessible. The result is a powerful study of the forces that tear nations and people apart.