A powerful and affecting novel imagining the inner turmoil of soldiers on military bases.
Following a desperate night-long battle, a group of beleaguered soldiers in an isolated base in Kandahar are faced with a lone woman demanding the return of her brother's body. Is she a spy, a black widow, a lunatic or what she claims to be: a grieving sister intent on burying her brother according to local rites? As she persists, single-minded in her mission, the camp's tense, claustrophobic atmosphere comes to a boil as the men argue about what to do next.
The Watch takes an age-old story - the myth of Antigone - and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan. The result is a gripping, deeply affecting book that brilliantly exposes the realities of war. It is also our most powerful expression to date of the nature and futility of this very contemporary conflict.
About the Author
Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya was born in Jamshedpur, India, and studied politics and philosophy at Presidency College and the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught literature and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, Bard College, and the University at Albany. His novels The Gabriel Club and The Storyteller of Marrakesh have been published in eleven languages in sixteen countries.
We watch as the resistance of an isolated American garrison in Afghanistan is ground down, not by force of arms but by the will of a single unarmed woman, holding inflexibly to an idea of what is just and right." - JM Coetzee
"A poignant and important book about one of the defining events of the start of the 21stcentury; it is devastatingly eloquent and unequivocal about the fact that there is no glory or beauty in war." - Fatima Bhutto
"The Watch is a powerful tale, courageous both in concept and creation: an ancient tale made modern, passed through different narrators in extraordinary shape shifting prose that makes this not just an important novel, but a remarkable read." - Aminatta Forna
"An important book for our times, in which one woman's determination and refusal to consent sets an example of courage and honesty." - Giles Foden
"Every war spawns its major literary works, and Roy-Bhattacharya's powerful, modern take on the Afghanistan armed conflict resonates with the echoes of Joseph Heller, Tim O'Brien and Robert Stone." - Starred review, Publisher's Weekly
"The Watch touches on nearly every trope of war novels, but like the best of the breed, it does so in fresh, exciting ways. Difficult to put down, powerful, eloquent, and even haunting." - Starred review, Booklist
"Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya's lyrical and poignant evocation of war is a potent reminder of the murderous futility of our imperial adventures in the Middle East. He captures the raw brutality of industrial warfare, along with its trauma, senselessness, random death and stupidity. His characters, including the soldiers who prosecute the war and the innocents whose lives are maimed and destroyed by it, are consumed alike in the vast orgy of death that sweeps across war zones to extinguish all that is human -- tenderness, compassion,understanding and finally love. He forces us to face the evil we do to others and to ourselves." - Chris Hedges
For Ages: 15 - 18 years old
For Grades: 11 - 12
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 1st May 2012
Publisher: Random House Australia
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.6 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.41