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The Gun Room    by Georgina Harding order for
Gun Room
by Georgina Harding
Order:  USA  Can
Bloomsbury, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Georgina Harding's The Gun Room opens as a young war photographer, Jonathan, gets the shot of a lifetime in a burning Vietnamese village. He captures the image of a distraught young soldier who may or may not have committed atrocities. That image haunts him and sets his life on a new course.

He drifts for a while, ending up in Tokyo where he supports himself by teaching English, and obsessively photographs all around him. He meets Kumiko and they become very close until his past intrudes on his new life. It's clear early on to the reader that more than his Vietnam experience has damaged this young man, something dark in his childhood (relating to the novel's title). And this does eventually become clear, to both protagonist and reader.

My problem with this very well written book is that Jonathan is so disconnected from reality throughout that it's pretty difficult for a reader to feel any connection to him. Still, it makes a very good point about both the responsibility of an observer - and the aftereffects on that observer - of violence.

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