Jebel Marra, by Michelle Green

Review: exceptionally good writing; 15 shards of shrapnel that will take your head off

Internally displaced women carry firewood to Kalma Camp, near Nyala in Darfurin 2008: Michelle Green offers an artistic insight into a very complicated and murky war. The physical description of landscape is matched by the psychological detailing of people. Outer and inner worlds merge seamlessly as wounded people move through a ruined territory. Photograph: Reuters

Internally displaced women carry firewood to Kalma Camp, near Nyala in Darfurin 2008: Michelle Green offers an artistic insight into a very complicated and murky war. The physical description of landscape is matched by the psychological detailing of people. Outer and inner worlds merge seamlessly as wounded people move through a ruined territory. Photograph: Reuters

Mon, Jun 8, 2015, 11:49

   
 

Book Title:
Jebel Marra

ISBN-13:
978-1905583546

Author:
Michelle Green

Publisher:
Comma Press

Guideline Price:
£9.99

The heart sank as soon as I read that Michelle Green “worked for a humanitarian aid agency in Darfur, and the stories in this book, although fictional, are informed by that experience”. Oh no, well-meaning social realism about a war zone! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Green has produced 15 pieces of exceptionally good writing; 15 shards of shrapnel that will take your head off. She moves confidently and capably between different characters and situations to give the reader an artistic insight into a very complicated and murky war. The physical description of landscape is matched by the psychological detailing of people. Outer and inner worlds merge seamlessly as wounded people move through a ruined territory. It is to Green’s great credit that each story convinces, that the reader wants to follow the conversation of every new character. She harnesses intelligence and imagination in the telling and the imagined seems very, very real indeed. Added to that, there is a deep sense of concern for those caught in this situation. And, yes, you are right – never judge a book by its blurb.