Author(s): Maggie Helwig
This is a novel about transgressing moral, personal, ethical and social boundaries with tragic results - as a simultaneous translatpr a the War Crimes tribunal gets too close to a journalist who reports from former Yugoslavia. Dan is a war correspondent in Bosnia, a stringer and a loner, a truth teller up to a point, careless with everything except his sources ... ('all right as long as I stay in a war zone'). Lili is a simultaneous translator of Serbian origin, based in Paris, young, careful, blonde, meticulous, who finds herself working for the War Crimes tribunal in the Hague, and fails to declare her fragile relationship. Helwig unpeels the human cost of a terrible war, from Bosnia to Lambeth via Belgrade, Paris and The Hague. As the novel opens, Dan watches a dawn raid on a house of a suspected war criminal whom he has interviewed - a good father almost certainly responsible for thousands of deaths. And the novel ends with an apocalyptic millennium eve, as Dan finds himself witness to a strange and terrible scene back in London, while Lili, having lost her job, is literally blown about the Paris streets. Set in the turbulent last decade of the 20th century, this is a thoughtful, gripping, beautifully written novel about wards that never end, and two people kept apart by history, ethics and human frailty - with a vividly evoked and frighteningly real supporting cast of war criminals, lawyers, refugees, journalists and a mad preacher.