Book: Acts of Faith, by Philip Caputo
Genre and Year of Publication: War fiction; 2006
Where I got it: The Open Door used book shop (read between January and August; reviewed in October)
Length: 688 pages
Briefly, it’s a novel set in Sudan (now South Sudan) during the 1990s, about the ambiguity of foreign (particularly American) aid to the civilian victims of the civil war.
Comments: This book got rave reviews in the press (Caputo was compared to Graham Greene, inter alia), but the reviews from regular readers on Goodreads are more nuanced. I’m with the latter. At almost 700 pages this is a giant book – dare I suggest that a more skilled writer might have been able to convey the story and the message in 500? That the author felt the need to include a two page character list indicates complexity. I frequently wasn’t sure, especially at the beginning, who was who. The themes are fascinating, but I was frequently bored, putting the book down for long periods at a time. The love affairs in particular are unconvincing, and I found the very last scene in the book particularly unconvincing. There’s violence, sex, mixed motives, death, unforeseen consequences, politics, religion, love, hate, heat and more in this book. I’m glad I read it, but more for the feeling of accomplishment at having finished it that for actual enjoyment of the reading itself.
Challenges: Full House Challenge for the category “Published before 2013”