It was just one remote hilltop in an unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples that are still felt today, foreshadowing the chaos of 21st-century conflicts in the Middle East.
The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; ‘flowers’ was the military code word for casualties. Part memoir, part reportage and part haunting elegy for lost youth, award-winning writer Matti Friedman’s powerful account follows the band of young soldiers – the author among them – conscripted out of high school into holding this remote outpost, and explores how the task would change them forever. Pumpkinflowers is a lyrical yet devastating insight into the day-today realities of war, and a powerful coming-of-age narrative. Raw and beautifully rendered, this essential chronicle casts an unflinching look at the nature of modern warfare, in which there is never a clear victor and innocence is not all that is lost.