This stunning fictional debut by a wildly talented young writer presents six stories about Americans colliding with remote and often perilous parts of the world: Two journalists, stranded in wartime Afghanistan, are taken in by a warlord who becomes the arbiter of their fates. A female scientist investigating the Aral Sea disaster is drawn into a trap by a former KGB officer. On a hike through Kazakhstan, Jayne and Douglas's marriage unravels when their guide, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghanistan war, takes an unseemly interest in Jayne. The son of an American ambassador, addicted to the seamy underside of a Central Asian city, finally gets in over his head. A tortured missionary struggles to reconcile his sexual urges with his faith. And a young man just back from a long stint in Kyrgyzstan finds his relationship with his fiancee all but destroyed. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic, but always eerily affecting, these stories show us deeply foreign lands and peoples through our own eyes.