Dark at the Crossing

Finalist, National Book Awards 2017 for Fiction

Dark at the Crossing, by Elliot Ackerman book cover
ISBN 9781101947371
Knopf / Penguin Random House
Elliot Ackerman author photo, credit: Muhsin Akgun
Elliot Ackerman

Elliot Ackerman, author of the critically acclaimed novel Green on Blue, is based out of Istanbul, where he has covered the Syrian Civil War since 2013. His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The AtlanticThe New Republic and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories. More about this author >

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Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Arab American with a conflicted past, he is now in Turkey, attempting to cross into Syria and join the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But he is robbed before he can make it, and is taken in by Amir, a charismatic Syrian refugee and former revolutionary, and Amir’s wife, Daphne, a sophisticated beauty haunted by grief. As it becomes clear that Daphne is also desperate to return to Syria, Haris’s choices become ever more wrenching: Whose side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? And will he be able to bring meaning to a life of increasing frustration and helplessness? Told with compassion and a deft hand, Dark at the Crossing is an exploration of loss, of second chances, and of why we choose to believe—a trenchantly observed novel of raw urgency and power.

Judges Citation

Elliot Ackerman’s Dark at the Crossing begins with a question the Turkish guards at the Syrian border pose to Haris, the young Arab American veteran determined to cross: why, after escaping the war in Iraq for America, would he want to then leave to fight—and probably die—in Syria? The novel answers this question by taking us inside a singular and urgent story that connects the war in Iraq, anti-Muslim hatred in America, and the Syrian Civil War.