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Charlie Johnson in the Flames


Intense, visceral and moving novel from Booker-shortlisted author of Scar Tissue, about what war does to us all - like a modern-day Graham Greene, but with contemporary secular guilt. Charlie Johnson is a veteran war correspondent who thinks he has seen it all - until he makes one rash expedition to a small outpost on the Kosovan-Serb border in 1998. Horrified, he watches the woman who sheltered them rush up the track, her clothes ablaze - and he runs out to embrace and try to save her. But he too is caught in the deadly fire that engulfs her. From now on, his life is consumed by the mission to find the man who killed her - caught on film by his friend and cameraman Jacek. Drawing on his own experience of war zones, in this disturbing, thoughtful novel Michael Ignatieff probes into the damage that blights Charlie's life and threatens to destroy his humanity, the result of years of numbing reporting of terrible events. Charlie has people who love him, not only his wife and daughter at home in London, but also generous, tough and resolute colleagues like Jacek and the indefatigable and beautiful Etta. But once he is set on his journey of revenge, nothing and no one can stop him. Charlie Johnson in the Flames is a remarkable book, combining a clear-sighted and introspective account of the evils of war, with a tender love story and a thriller-like plot, leading to a dramatic and heart-wrenching conclusion. Hide synopsis

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