This was my summer holiday read. I had decided to start reading fiction in the following way: Booker Prize winners (or some similar international award), alternating with Stella Prize winners (Australian female writers). This novel was nominated for the Golden Booker Award, which is the Best of the Best Bookers. I had seen the movie a long time ago, but most people regard books as usually much better. It portrays a fine series of characters surviving WWII via intriguing tales within tales that weave through the Libyan desert, Italian villages and British minds. But the ultimate moral lesson comes near the end, it highlights how war can eliminate and grow racism and nationalism in equal measure.