I spent more than a week picking up this book and reading a few paragraphs, only to put it down after deciding it was too heavy for me. Finally I decided to sit down and read ten pages before deciding to give up completely. Before I knew it I had read 62 pages, and was so involved in the story that I couldn't imagine doing anything else but reading it. It was very, very sad. It was sad all the way through the last pages, but it was so well written, and so heartfelt. The characters were completely believable and although at times the prose was a little much (I skipped whole paragraphs when I decided I didn't care about every tiny detail that didn't seem that important to the story) overall this was one of the best books I have read in a long time. The author's notes at the back referred to a lot of books he had read about Chechnya, some of which I am eager to read also.