Into the Sun
Written by Deni Ellis Béchard
Publication Date September 24, 2016
Kabul — 10 years after 9/11: When a car bomb explodes in a crowded part of the city, a Japanese-American journalist is shocked to discover that the vehicle’s passengers were acquaintances — three fellow ex-pats who had formed an unlikely love triangle. Alexandra was a Canadian human rights lawyer for imprisoned Afghan women. Justin was a born-again Christian from Louisiana who taught at a local school. Clay was an ex-soldier who worked as a private contractor. The car’s driver, Idris, one of Justin’s most promising pupils, is missing.
Convinced the events that led to the fatal explosion weren’t random, and curious to know more about what led each of them to Afghanistan, the journalist follows a trail from Kabul to Louisiana, Maine, Québec, and Dubai, determined to uncover why they were targeted and who is responsible.
In this monumental novel, Deni Ellis Béchard explores the personal impact of America’s imperial misadventures and draws an unsentimental portrait of the journalists, mercenaries, messianic idealists, and aid workers who flock to war zones. In vivid and evocative prose, Béchard brings to life the city of Kabul itself, along with the people who live there: the hungry, determined, and resourceful locals who are just as willing as their occupiers to reinvent themselves to survive.
Deni Ellis Béchard
Deni Ellis Béchard is the author of the novel Vandal Love, winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; Cures for Hunger, a memoir about growing up with a father who robbed banks; and The Last Bonobo: A Journey into the Congo. His work has appeared in the LA Times, Salon, and Foreign Policy, and he has reported from Afghanistan, India, the Congo, and Iraq.
"Into the Sun is ambitious, elegant, and filled with a kind of ferocious intelligence. Béchard explores the culture of the war zone, creating a compelling picture of that dark and turbulent place." Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta
"Into the Sun is a story of haunting beauty rendered from the legacy of the War in Afghanistan. In scope and skill, Béchard's portrait of those who are both drawn to and entangled by conflict is reminiscent of the best works of Graham Greene and Philip Caputo. This novel is a fitting paean to the wrecked souls of an endless war." Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue
"Deni Ellis Béchard's Into the Sun is an ambitious novel that succeeds on all levels. It's a riveting mystery-thriller that also probes deeper into the nature of war and the ways in which it attracts and transforms some people. Into the Sun has the propulsive force of a car bomb in the bloodstream, quickening the reader's pulse at every turn, right up to the very last page." David Abrams, author of Fobbit
"Into the Sun is one of the finest novels I've read in years, an unrelenting and daring masterpiece about war, the quest for understanding after tragedy, and the power of human yearning for connection. Deni Ellis Béchard has delivered a vital book that will change the way you see the world." Jesse Goolsby, author of I'd Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them
"We wake from this book as witnesses to Kabul, to America and to the crimes of men who need destruction to find definition and women desperate to understand. Béchard is channeling Melville and Conrad, their oceans and rivers replaced with dust and smoke. There are sentences on these pages that will be quoted in universities and taped to newsroom desks for a century." Benjamin Busch, author of Dust to Dust
"Into the Sun is the sort of book I'm always hungry for — the serious novel in which the guns literally go off. Béchard makes me think of Graham Greene and Robert Stone, which is heady company, indeed." Richard Ford
"Deni Ellis Béchard’s Into the Sun is a ferociously intelligent and intensely gripping portrait of the expatriate community in Kabul—the idealists, mercenaries, aid workers and journalists circling around a war offering them promises of purpose, redemption, or cash, while the local Afghans in their orbit negotiate the ever-changing and ever-dangerous politics of the latter stages of the American war in Afghanistan. Brilliant." Phil Klay, author of Redeployment