War Stories

Three novels offer very different views on the conflict in Iraq

Matthew Leifheit for TIME

It's hard to argue that warfare has any redeeming qualities, but here's one: armed conflict is among mankind's most reliable crucibles for creating high art. Western literature begins with a war story--The Iliad--and plenty of gifted writers since then have salvaged meaning out of carnage, capturing the pathos unique to particular wars while exploring universal truths about the soul.

So far not only have there been very few good novels about the U.S.'s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been very few novels about them at all. Writing in the Guardian about the comparative surfeit of outstanding nonfiction regarding those...

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