Ghosts By Daylight: A Memoir of War and Love by Janine Di Giovanni
Before I reached the stairwell, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. A strange and beautiful man had dropped to his knees in front of me, unencumbered, unembarrassed. I stopped short. He was slender, almost Asiatic looking, wearing baggy combat trousers and a T-shirt. He was flirting, and then he was laughing at my reaction. There was not much for me to do but also smile... Janine and Bruno first fell in love as young reporters in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Years later - after endless phone calls, much of what the French call malentendu, secret trysts in foreign cities, numerous break-ups, three miscarriages, countless stories of rebel armies and a dozen wars that had passed between them - they arrive in Paris one rainy January to begin a new life together. The remnants of their separate lives, now left behind, are tentatively unpacked into their shared apartment on the Right Bank: Bruno's heavy blanket from Ethiopia, a set of long feathered arrows from Brazil, an ash tray stolen from a hotel in Algeria, and Janine's flak-jacket and canvas boots, still full of sand from the Western Desert in Iraq. But having met in another lifetime - in another world - ordinary, civilian life doesn't come easily. War has become part of them: it had brought them together, and, though both are damaged by it, neither can quite leave it behind. And the difficult journey that follows, through their mix of joy and terror at becoming parents, Bruno's battle with post-traumatic stress and addiction, and Janine's determination to make France her home, leads to an understanding of the truth that people who deeply love each other cannot always live together. A searing, profoundly moving love letter, beautifully written, Ghosts by Daylight is a powerfully raw portrait of marriage and motherhood in the aftermath of war.