Fives and twenty-fives by Michael Pitre

Fives and twenty-fivesMichael Pitre, the author of Fives and twenty-fives, is an Iraq war veteran and this is his thrilling debut novel. It is interesting because it has an Iraqi protagonist and from the first page it really makes you feel what fighting in the Iraqi desert would be like.
It is the early months of the Arab Spring, 2011. But for three young men, two American and one Iraqi, their minds return again and again to 2006, to the bloodiest stretch of the Iraq War. Members of the same platoon, they were tasked with the often deadly job of repairing potholes in the roads of the Al Anbar Province: potholes that almost always concealed a home-made bomb. They have survived the war but now they must learn to live with themselves.

Discharged without honour, medic Doc Pleasant returns to his impoverished hometown to face his failures, both real and imagined. The platoon’s young lieutenant, Donavan, carries the weight and the scars of his responsibility – of the superiors he never let himself doubt and the orders he dutifully followed. 

And at a Tunisian university, Kateb, the Iraqi interpreter his fellow troops knew only as Dodge, tries to lose himself in his studies of classic American fiction. But the memories of his broken country, of the family he left behind and the choices that the conflict forced him to make, keep intruding. 

As they struggle to find their place in a world that no longer knows them, they realise that the war has left nothing in their lives untouched and that salvation may come from an unexpected quarter.

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