The Girl in Green by Derek B. Miller
(Faber (UK), HMH (US), 2016)

The Girl in Green

by Derek B. Miller

From the author of the highly acclaimed Norwegian by Night, a brilliantly original and timely tragi-comedy about the consequences of the war in Syria and misguided attempts to help.

Iraq 1991. US soldier Arwood Hobbes is bored. When British Times journalist Thomas Benton – embedded in Arwood’s U.S. Army company – bribes Arwood with an ice cream to let him into the rebel-held stronghold of Samawah, Arwood perks up and an off-book mission is born. Three hours later, the village of Samawah is razed by Saddam’s helicopter gunships, Benton is trapped, and a village girl in a green dress dies in Arwood’s arms.

Twenty-two years later, in 2013, Arwood has become an arms dealer and Benton a washed-up hack. As refugees fleeing the war in Syria flood over the border into Kurdistan, the two men see TV footage of a mortar attack on a food queue, which seems to injure the same girl in the same green dress. It can’t be her, of course, but their sense of needing to make up for the past takes them back to Iraq to rescue the girl. It is a mad-cap mission that can only go wrong, and spectacularly wrong it goes …

Set in a Middle East filled with refugees, humanitarian organizations, insurgents, and national staff trying to rebuild their shattered world, The Girl in Green is not a war novel. It is a humane, compassionate, funny and haunting journey through that undefined space between war and peace.

Reviews

Miller brilliantly blends offbeat reflection and dark emotion ... A penetrating, poetic, and unexpectedly disarming book about the ageless conflict in the Middle East”
- Kirkus, Starred Review
An engrossing, eye-opening, elegantly written book, highly recommended.”
- Malcolm MacKay, author of The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter
A provocative engagement with US foreign policy is matched to rich and multifaceted characterization.”
- Independent
A thriller that combines characters of more than usual sensitivity with the harsh reality of combat and a prescient analysis of the shameful behaviour of governments.”
- The Times
Miller dives into the complex and confusing world of the Middle East with a depth of knowledge of the region and the forces at play that is obvious on every page. His writing is direct and powerful - it's impossible to read this without becoming angry and upset, but there is humor too, and just enough hope . His first book, Norwegian By Night, was one of my favourite books of 2013, and I think this one's even better. Verdict: heart-thumping thriller.”
- Herald Sun (Australia)
Before publishing Norwegian By Night Derek Miller worked in international affairs for over twenty years. In his new novel he calls upon his wealth of knowledge and experience to give us another emotionally moving thriller that looks at Iraq and the mess The West has made in the Middle East in the last twenty five years. Miller manages to convey all this to the reader in a page-turner that is both funny and sad, intelligent and full of hope. This is a must read from a writer of extreme talent and compassion.”
- Jon Page, Pages & Pages Booksellers
By setting his outstanding literary thriller in the confused, complex and volatile aftermath of conflict, Miller effectively guns down any notion of military heroics and instead focuses his verbal firepower on the plight of civilians caught up in the deadly wake of war..Written with Miller's incisive wit, intelligence, compassion and authenticity, this is a novel from a writer fast becoming a master of his craft.”
- Lancashire Evening Post
The exciting, elegantly constructed narrative employs repeated motifs, scenes and charac­ters to draw parallels between the current crisis in Syria and the first Gulf War. The overall effect is powerful and sobering. The charismatic, provocative Hobbes is a fine creation: fearless, driven and passionate. The show is almost stolen by the girl in green, who finally finds her voice and expresses the devastation laying waste to her homeland.”
- South China Morning Post
A stunning contemporary thriller.”
- Thriller Books Journal
The Girl in Green is one of those books that will definitely stay with you a long time after you've closed its covers.”
- Crime Fiction Lover