Books and Movies Reviews

Triage

'Mark was looking for himself, still trying to find his way back from the dead.' How does Mark learn to love with the pain of the past?
Before his breakdown war is merely a career opportunity for Mark. He moves from one trouble spot to another to make a living, not because he has any commitment to a cause. Mark's mental breakdown is caused by a result of witnessing too many wars, his physical and mental injuries from Kurdistan, Talzani's triage process, his amnesia of Colin's fate and too many needless deaths. His eventual acceptance that scars only partially heal forms the narrative of the novel.
Mark is forced to embark upon a journey to self knowledge and spiritual awareness.
Mark a sensitive young man, his father recalls that he was different from other children:'…you were the most sensitive. Very inquisitive, too" (p. 131). While other children had no awareness of the outside world, Mark reacted sensitively to news items. But after nine years of exposure to war violence, he has certain arrogance about how unaffected he is.
Joaquin plays a major role in Mark's voyage forgiving and forgetting the pain of the past. By listening carefully to Mark's accounts of his war experiences, Joaquin is able to restore Mark's memory of Colin's death. But this is not the end of Mark's trauma. It is only at this point that the journey towards self-knowledge can begin and there are times in Spain when we doubt if Mark can ever accept the guilt that he feels for'allowing' Colin to die. Joaquin presents the confronting view that for a reason, or lack of; war is inevitable. It is through Joaquin's experience of war trauma that Scott Anderson ties together the events of modern wars that Mark is involved in and allows Mark to discover he is not alone. But unlike everyone else Joaquin does not offer Mark that promise, he believes Mark belongs to an age where "…

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