Given the uncountable billions of words they have dedicated to the war in Iraq, it might be easy for Americans to think of it as belonging solely to them. Even its possession by the Iraqis can feel tenuous at times. So it is a refreshing reminder of the new global village to read a novel like Robert Perisic’s “Our Man in Iraq,” which studies the fighting in Baghdad from the distant shores of Croatia.
Perisic’s messenger is a Zagreb journalist named Toni, who, with his actress girlfriend Sanja, and his colleagues take stock of the unfolding conflagration in the Middle East. And yet, the war in Iraq is mostly an extended ruse in Perisic’s bleakly comic novel, which, like many of the recent spate of novels that occupy themselves with the war, keeps combat scrupulously at a distance.