Acts of Faith (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
In the opening chapter of A Rumor of War (1977), a compelling memoir of combat in Vietnam, Philip Caputo writes of enlisting in the U.S. Marines immediately after finishing college. By his account, he survived the Vietnam War even though rendered “a moral casualty” and, at age twenty-six, faced the future with no skills other than those associated with killing. Acts of Faith, Caputo’s epic fifth novelthis one about civil war in Sudanhighlights what he learned as a line officer and on journey by foot and camel across the deserts of Sudan in the 1970’s. His return to sub-Saharan Africa in 2000-2001 is also reflected in a novel which, while far too long, offers its attractions.
For the reader who relies on being able to follow a clear plot line or the evolution of characters, finishing Acts of Faith will not be easy. However, Caputo provides two signposts in order to point a way through his jungle: a graded list of characters at the start and a tallying of the damage in the last one hundred pages. The six hundred middle pages often offer a morass. This book’s backdrop is terra incognita for most Americans; its foreground is a complex of ethnic interconnections. Acts of Faith mounts the romantic and interpersonal gamesplay of a cast of Westerners and exotics performing in the darkening throes of Sudan’s crisis. The action unfolds amid civil war, which reached a peak in Sudan in the 1990’s when the...
(The entire section is 1031 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 11, (February 1, 2005): 916-917.
The Economist 375 (May 7, 2005): 78.
Entertainment Weekly, no. 819 (May 13, 2005): 91.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 4 (February 15, 2005): 189.
Library Journal 130, no. 3 (February 15, 2005): 114.
The New York Times 154 (May 3, 2005): B1-B8.
The New York Times Book Review 154 (June 19, 2005): 13.
The New Yorker 81, no. 15 (May 30, 2005): 91.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 9 (February 28, 2005): 39.
(The entire section is 42 words.)