This is a book about a war that essentially has very little war related content. The Author tells a story interwoven with richly developed characters set in Chechnya during a complex, conflicted time of war. Knowing hardly anything about the conflict in that region, I was grateful for the brief clarified scenes that connected me to the story. The Author didn't overly describe the trials of the war but grazed them just enough for the story he was trying to tell. The characters of the book broke my heart, each one stuck in the life they were given (never easy to face that). The internal struggles of freedom, betrayal, survival, love and loss are blanketed within all the different characters who're connected in the large web of life. It's hard to break away from this novel, I found myself researching and delving deeper into Chechnya and it's history. Anthony Marra may not have thrown down the entire history by pen but he definitely seems to have peaked this interest within his readers to find out for themselves. What a clever little devil he is, intentional or not.