The Room and the Chair by Lorraine Adams

“One of the most thrilling literary novels I’ve read in years. I read the first 50 pages in a single gasp, then read the next hundred in a sort of awe.”—Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

An astonishingly original new novel by the award-winning author of Harbor (“Captivating”—The New York Times Book Review; “A great, gutsy novel . . . Outstanding” —Entertainment Weekly) that moves from a newsroom in the American capital to a cockpit over Afghanistan, from an Iranian cemetery to a military intelligence office in suburban Washington, as it explores a world of entwined conflicts and the way narratives about violence are told, twisted, hidden, or forgotten.

Here are fine-drawn, empathetic portraits of the often overlooked actors of America’s infinite global war: the ridiculed night editor of a prestigious newspaper, an overburdened nuclear engineer, a duty-bound female fighter pilot, a religiously impassioned novice reporter, a sergeant major thrust into the responsibilities of a secretive command. Their longings and loyalties take us, in the course of one shattering year, from a forested city park where child whores set up business to a Dubai hotel where a desperate man tries to disappear, from the nighttime corridors of Walter Reed Hospital to the snow-thickened mountains of the Hindu Kush.

Told in language as stunning for its beauty as for its verisimilitude, The Room and the Chair dazzlingly bends the conventions of literary suspense to create an unforgettable, groundbreaking chronicle of today’s dangerous world.

Lorraine Adams was educated at Princeton University and was a graduate fellow at Columbia University, where she received a master’s degree in literature. A staff writer for the Washington Post for 11 years, she won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. She lives in Washington, D.C.