A Brighter Fear

  • Book: A Brighter Fear
  • Location: Baghdad
  • Author: Kerry Drewery



The story of Lina brings home to us in our comfortable lives and stable country what it may be like to live in a city torn apart by war and occupation: a life where bombings, abductions, suspicion and fear are a way of life. At the same time, it is a reminder that even in such desperate circumstances, of the importance making and keeping connections with others as part of the fight for survival. As a Christian Iraqi, Lina experiences exclusion from her peer group as the situation deteriorates, and her family situation tragically changes. In the circumstances it is easy to understand why she is prepared to risk more when friendship is offered from an unlikely source.

The author captures the emotions of a teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood, her disappointments and excitements. She creates, as much as a western writer can, a believeable version of day to day life in war-torn Baghdad, and the fear that pervades everything – a fear which burns more brightly when the ongoing tide of fear and some of those responsible for that fear turn their attentions towards Lina and her family. The side story describing the abduction and treatment of Lina’s mother – of which we learn on the first page of the book, is truly shocking.

The book focusses on Lina’s life rather than the politics of the war, and is ultimately a story of coming of age against that background, rather than exploring the war itself. In that respect, the book is, I think, aimed at the teenage audience, because the relationships and story are very much described in a naïve voice, but provides a thought-provoking and touching tale of hope and optimism triumphing in a desperate situation.

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