Friday, February 24, 2012

Review # 121: One Hundred and One Nights by Benjamin Buchholz

     After studying medicine in America for thirteen years, Abu Saheeh travels back to his native Baghdad in order to start over and relinquish his past. His new life is a lot to get used to, but the mobile phone shack he manages seems to be doing well, as does his relationship with a spirited young Iranian girl, Layla, who visits him daily with questions and comments about American culture. As their innocent friendship grows, tension mounts in the world around them and Abu must wrestle with his past and the painful memories that accompany it. Will Abu be able to ignore what he has left behind and regain control of his new beginning? Or will his past take over, forcing him to endanger everything around him?


     Benjamin Buchholz's One Hundred and One Nights is a novel full of vivid detail, intrigue, and  heartache. It starts off slow, but after a couple of chapters I started to get a true sense of Abu's character and his shady history, as well as Layla's spirit and fervor for America's western views. The characters are well-developed and realistic, and the dialogue is written beautifully. The whole time I was reading I couldn't help but wonder how the characters would interact with and change each other. There's a sense that Abu's decisions are ultimately going to lead him to a dark place, but Buchholz mastery of words kept me guessing at each turn until the last shocking page. The story-line impressed me the most, but I will not give away any spoilers because the readers need to experience every plot twist for themselves. The imagery is breathtaking, but also devastating; it will affect readers at their core. Recommended for adults. I will definitely be waiting for Benjamin Buchholz's next novel.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the publisher (Little, Brown and Co.) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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