November 28, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

War Torn

Current Status
In Season
John Marks
We gave it a B

As the former Berlin bureau chief for ”U.S. News & World Report,” Marks knows the political geography of post — Cold War Europe intimately. What’s surprising is that he’s just as adept at mapping out the emotional topography of living, breathing beings. ”War Torn” follows magazine scribe Arthur Cape as he covers the German reunification and falls hard for a beautiful, but married, Yugoslav woman. Cape never quite recovers after she follows her husband and son back to their Balkan hometown. When the Bosnian-Serbian conflict erupts, Cape tries to reach her but finds that even love can’t bypass the knotted religious/ethnic conflicts tearing up the region. Though ”War Torn” gets bogged down in a muddle of belabored plot twists, Marks’ reporter’s ear for detail and his deft, nonlinear narrative make it a worthy meditation on the intersection of heart and history.

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