Sunday, January 8, 2012
It isn’t very often, after reading a novel, that I want to know more about the person who wrote the story. In this case, I’m not sure which was more interesting - the book or the author. In writing this review, I snooped around the internet for a little background info on Ben Buchholz, the author of the book, One Hundred and One Nights. He was schooled to be a Foreign Affairs Officer, which brought him and his family to Oman in the Middle East.
One Hundred and One Nights was conceived while Buchholz was stationed in Iraq as an Officer with the Wisconsin National Guard. He had witnessed a horrific act - one of the US supply trucks had run over a little girl - and this was the catalyst for the book.
One Hundred and One Nights is the story of an American trained Iraqi doctor, Abu Saheeh, who is now forced to sell mobile phones in a shack under a bridge. While he tries to rebuild his life, he befriends Layla, a 14 year old street urchin, who loves US culture like Britney Spears and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Saheed feels a paternal connection; these feelings change. He spends his life trying to forget the past, and memories presented in each chapter give you a glimpse of things to come, with quite a few unexpected turns. This book is told from the Iraqi perspective.
This is a good - no, great - read. Once read, it is one of those books, knowing how it ends, to be read again. I don’t want to give away the story (I was concerned about that in writing the review), but this is a book that will surprise you. Its characters will come to life in your dreams. Buchholz has well defined characters, a great plot, and has created a fantastic novel.
Buchholz also has an interesting blog: not-quite-right.net