An Afghan War Vet Adopts the Voice of an Afghan Boy in His Heartbreaking First Novel, Green on Blue

Elliot Ackerman is a decorated veteran of the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan, and now the debut author of a remarkable novel, Green on Blue, out February 17 from Scribner. Green on Blue is narrated by a Pashtun teenager named Aziz, who describes the state of his country as such: “In Pashto, [our] type of war is called ghabban: this is when someone demands money for protection against a threat they create. For this type of war, the Americans don’t have a word. The only one that comes near is racket.”

Beyond its harrowing and finely-wrought depiction of the impossible choices average Afghans must continually make, what makes Ackerman’s novel an important one is this sort of translation it offers for the contemporary Afghan experience writ large. For the West, in which violence in Afghanistan is often assumed to be driven by religious zealotry or nationalist anger, Green on Blue deciphers the degree to which it is instead driven by the simple instinct for survival.

For more, read Elizabeth’s full article on the Huffington Post.

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