Author: Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
Thirst is an account of the Iran-Iraq War as told by two writers: one Iranian, one Iraqi. There are three (or four? five?) story threads going on at once and the text weaves in, out and between them constantly and seamlessly. At the heart of it all is one story about warring soldiers stalemated over a patch of earth, a water tank between them. Neither side can approach the tank without being gunned down by the other: a perfect metaphor. The political and historical messages are many. Those in power control truth. The Persian/Arab rivalry goes back well over a thousand years. Soldiers are human. War is absurd.
By design, the stories are difficult to follow. As such, the overarching themes are emphasized over narrative details. I sensed elements of other works: In the Labyrinth by Alaine Robbe-Grillet (review here) and All Quiet on the Western Front. It's a good book with the playful, florid language I've come to expect from all Asian literature.