"THE END OF MANNERS" is a story focused on the experiences of 2 Western women in war torn Afghanistan --- Imo Glass, a self-assured, successful British journalist and Maria Galante, a self-effacing, award-winning Italian photographer who had been content to stick to the straight and narrow by specializing in taking photographs of fine cuisine for magazines --- who have been given an assignment to highlight the plight of Afghan women who've attempted suicide rather than be married off to much older men.
In reading this story, the Afghanistan I was seeing in my mind's eye was very much like that depicted in the movie "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot", which I had watched in the cinema a couple of years ago. And that is a country riven by internecine conflict where past and present often collide. As well as a country in which its people bravely go about the business of everyday living with the prospect of death hovering nearby.
Francesca Marciano does a very skillful job as a writer in sharing with the reader the inner conflicts and complexities of some of the novel's main characters. Examples: Hanif, an Afghan who acted as a protector, driver, and guide for both Imo and Maria during their journeys to neighboring villages outside Kabul; and Shirin, a young Afghan woman who acted as interpreter for Imo and Maria in their interviews with women in these distant villages.
On the whole, this was a compelling novel whose writing kept me engaged. I look forward to reading more of Marciano's works.