Kiss the Dust : Elizabeth Laird

Kiss the DustKiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The hallmark of an Elizabeth Laird book is research. Regardless of the topic, her books are always grounded very solidly in truth. I believe what she writes and that’s a testament to her sensitivity as a writer. I adored The Garbage King and in a sort of strange way Kiss the Dust is a little bit of a precursor to that book despite their vastly different subject area.

Kiss the Dust, written in 1991, is set initially in Iraq. Tara is living a comfortable life until her father’s work with the Kurdish resistance becomes discovered by the Iraqi secret police. This results in Tara’s family leaving the country and becoming refugees.

It’s a sensitive, mature coming of age story for both Tara and her family. Set in a period of history I know very little about, Laird is clever at fleshing out her story with incidental detail without distracting from the central narrative. It’s also intriguing to see how she constantly draws her story into discussing community, how people shape home regardless of where you thought your home was.

There were points in this book that became slow for me but I think that’s possibly a personal thing of balancing my expectations against the actual narrative. Additionally I wasn’t keen on the fact that the edition I read had a contextual preface in the front of it. I appreciate the necessity of context in a story of this nature but much prefer it to come after a book rather than at the front, before the actual story itself.

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