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The War Zone by [Stuart, Alexander]
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The War Zone Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Kindle, July 27, 2009
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Length: 242 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 620 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse; 20th Anniversary Edition edition (July 27, 2009)
  • Publication Date: July 27, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002WTCLRM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,646 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Despite the storied 20 year history of both the novel and subsequent movie, I was ignorant of its existence.

And quite a history The War Zone has; the novel was stripped of the Whitbread Prize (now the Costa book awards.) An event that Stuart himself credits as far more helpful in promotion of his book than perhaps just receiving the award itself. Script adaptations of The War Zone by Stuart number in the tens, and it seemed a successful film adaptation would remain in "development hell" for all eternity.

The War Zone is a dark, unwavering narrative filled with elegant prose. A book oft touted as about incest and abuse, was to me, a deep and layered texture about middle-class suburban despondence. The true disconnectedness and alienation that is male adolescence (I've been there!) is compounded by a world spiraling out of control. As a reader, the comfort of familiarity is ripped away as an impending sense of dread and uneasiness builds. To be inside the head of a young boy, Tom, surprisingly evoked more pity than sympathy. All of Tom's innocence, his childhood, become forever stained by the knowledge of his father's sexual abuse of his sister Jessica. As I read, my mind stiffened. I braced for impending impact, almost certain of its trajectory. And suddenly, what I knew, was not what I knew. Tom's fear and his inability to change the outcome of even his own life paralyzes the reader.

The bleak and muted English countryside enraptured me. Even though I've never been to the United Kingdom, Stuart conjures a middle class moroseness that I'm all too familiar with here in the States. I enjoyed the subtle, stifled elements of the world. There is a realness and depth that is unnerving.
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This is not your father's "war zone". Rather, it is a story of an incestuous relationship and the gritty impact of a family's relocation from London to the countryside. It is well written and worth the read, if you can stand the dark side of life. The movie, with Tilda Swinton playing the clueless mother is quite good as well.
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Despicable, dark, but I couldn't put it down. There was something much more to this story than indulging in taboos for the shock value alone - thoughtfully written and heart-breaking - I also saw the movie and while it didn't follow quite exactly - it was compelling, and beautifully acted. Worth your time - you won't forget ever reading this.
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