The Watch

Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

First Sentence:     One.

Back of the book:

Following a desperate night-long battle, a group of beleaguered soldiers in an isolated base in Kandahar are faced with a lone woman demanding the return of her brother’s body. Is she a spy, a black widow, a lunatic, or what she claims to be: a grieving sister intent on burying her brother according to local rites? As she persists, single-minded in her mission, the camp’s tense, claustrophobic atmosphere comes to the boil as the men argue about what to do next.

The Watch takes an age-old story – the myth of Antigone – and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan. The result is an unputdownable, deeply affecting novel that brilliantly exposes the realities of war. It is also our most powerful expression to date of the nature and futility of this very contemporary conflict.

Quotes from the book:

I turn my head and look back at the mountains as at a lover. The slopes are a serene blue, as if sculpted out of the sky itself. The highest ridges now glow silver in the sunlight, now golden. Such beauty exists only in paradise.

“It’s my nightmare scenario. 360 degree catastrafuck.”

So I began writing this journal for you, Dad. You said I would need a place to bury the graveyard that war becomes when the dreams of glory dissipate.

* * * *

Last Sentence:    It feels absurdly soft to the touch.

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