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Anna Badkhen has been writing about conflicts since 2001 for The New York Times, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She lives in Philadelphia.

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A great piece describing how little things have changed in Afghanistan since the Taliban's uprising from a religious policing force. It doesn't outright argue that the Taliban started from noble cause, or that they did noble work, but they did much more for the general populace than the government had (or does for that matter) for quite some time. As with many things in life, a few spoil it for the rest, and those "radicals" were able to derail a system that worked for their culture. Geopolitics play heavy here if you read deep enough. Divisions grow...there is no room for political loyalties when you need food, water and somewhere to live. Which leads to the current state. Well worth the read.… (mere)
jons0813 | 1 anden anmeldelse | Oct 27, 2018 |
36. Fisherman's Blues : A West African Community at Sea (audio) by Anna Badkhen
read by the author
published: 2018
format: 7:54 overdrive audio (304 pages in hardcover)
acquired: Library
listened: June 8-19
rating: 4

Badkhen uses the phrase "like an itinerant storyteller" near the end of this book. A Russian born American whose books are about journeys through war zones, the African savanna and Afghanistan, this may have served as her self-description. In a poetic voice she does a complete immersive journalism, trying to become part of a Senegalese fishing village, invisibly of course. Except that she fails to become invisible, as she acknowledges. She does join these fisherman on their long fishing voyages in their rickety boats, hiring herself out and helping with the labor, getting very intimate with many of those around her, even as they see her always taking notes, and sometimes ask her to write things down for them.

This is a community on the edge, starved out of the Senegalese interior, they are still viewed as migrants some hundred years or so since they took to the sea, only to witness the fishing stock crash and continually diminish (she doesn't analyze too much, but the fisherman blame the large international fishing vessels with gigantic nets and no restrictions.) The community lives a precarious life where death is cheap, crews are lost, and bodies wash up routinely. They are surrounded by temporary unmarked graves which all seem to wash away eventually. And yet they are connected to the larger world in numerous ways, and many of the men she talks to have left Senegal to find work, usually illegally, in Spain and elsewhere, sometimes doing very well, sometimes just to be imprisoned.

I finished this book, which she reads herself, very much in it's thrall, very enchanted by everything she reported and sees. Yet, I notice a lot of negative reviews, and complaints about her prose. She writes in a thick poetic prose where the facts and the story come second to the atmosphere she is trying to create. And I suspect that the same discomfort readers tend to feel with poetry in general today crops up in these reviews. So, recommended to those with more poetic tastes.

… (mere)
dchaikin | Jun 23, 2018 |
A book that makes both the tears and saliva flow. An intrepid war correspondent's account of widespread deprivation, gracious hospitality, vicious wartime atrocities, compelling landscapes, delicious meals, unexpected friendships, and narrow escapes along the constantly shifting front lines of ongoing wars in the Middle East. Her accounts of the people, places, and plates are equally compelling and unlike any other accounts I've come across. Her incredible journey as a young Russian mother who immigrated to the US, working for major US media outlets, reporting from the front lines of some of the most dangerous conflict areas in the world and sharing meals with complete strangers are a feast in itself, but the recipes really drive it home. A recommended read for gastronomists and non-foodies alike.… (mere)
dele2451 | 3 andre anmeldelser | Sep 10, 2017 |
Candy-wrapped kalashnikova and other war stories
jhawn | 3 andre anmeldelser | Jul 31, 2017 |



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