Paul Griner, whose The German Woman this year made Vogue’s list of the top ten summer books, recently read Homefront and had this to say:
Homefront is a powerful novel about the Iraq war in which the war almost never appears, yet in which its tensions are ever-present. Mia Sharpe’s boyfriend Jake is a helicopter pilot serving in the conflict, her best friend’s husband is too; her downstairs neighbors—one of whom is an Iraqi refugee—want her to protest the war with them, and Jake’s mother haunts Mia, through phone and unannounced visits, to be a better girlfriend to Jake while he’s gone. Even the parties Mia attends and the fares she picks up as a cabbie revolve around the war, and its unending presence in her life becomes an agony: of waiting, of dread, of anguish. Mia can’t bear to be away from Jake, yet can barely bring herself to write or email him, terrified that she might say the wrong thing at the wrong time, or, worse, that whatever missive she sends to him will never receive a response because he’s dead. Yet the novel, so skillful at plumbing the depths of doubt and the agony of fear, is equally skillful at portraying how that agony can turn to ecstasy through the redemptive power of love. Homefront is where most of us spent the Iraq war; reading it makes vividly clear that those who were closest to its combatants—whatever their politics or beliefs—suffered enormously too, and still found the strength to struggle on.