Synopses & Reviews
An exceptional debut novel about a young Muslim war orphan whose family is killed in a military operation gone wrong, and the American soldier to whom his fate, and survival, is bound.
Jonas is fifteen when his family is killed during an errant U.S. military operation in an unnamed Muslim country. With the help of an international relief organization, he is sent to America, where he struggles to assimilate-foster family, school, a first love. Eventually, he tells a court-mandated counselor and therapist about a U.S. soldier, Christopher Henderson, responsible for saving his life on the tragic night in question. Christopher's mother, Rose, has dedicated her life to finding out what really happened to her son, who disappeared after the raid in which Jonas' village was destroyed. When Jonas meets Rose, a shocking and painful secret gradually surfaces from the past, and builds to a shattering conclusion that haunts long after the final page. Told in spare, evocative prose, The Book of Jonas is about memory, about the terrible choices made during war, and about what happens when foreign disaster appears at our own doorstep. It is a rare and virtuosic novel from an exciting new writer to watch.
Jonas is fifteen when his family is killed during an errant U.S. military operation in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. An international relief organization sends Jonas to America, where he struggles to assimilate—adapting to his foster family, high school, a first love. Jonas meets Rose Henderson, the mother of the U.S. soldier responsible for saving his life. Christopher Henderson disappeared after the raid that destroyed Jonas’s village, and Rose yearns to know the truth. Gradually, a shocking and painful secret emerges.
In spare, evocative prose, debut novelist Stephen Dau crafts a virtuosic novel about memory, the terrible choices made during war, and what happens when foreign disaster arrives at our own doorstep.
About the Author
Stephen Dau is from Western Pennsylvania and lives in Brussels. He worked for ten years in post-war reconstruction and international development prior to studying creative writing, at Johns Hopkins University and Bennington, where he received an MFA. His work has appeared in McSweeney's, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on MSNBC, and elsewhere. The Book of Jonas is his first novel.