Bombs Over Sad Dad: IMing with Nathan Deuel


If parenting is the hardest job in the world, imagine doing it in a place of civil unrest. Nathan Deuel's book, Friday Was the Bomb, spans the five years he and his daughter Loretta spent in Turkey and Lebanon as Deuel's wife, an NPR foreign correspondent, reported from Baghdad and Syria. As much as Friday is about living in the Middle East, it's also a moving autobiographical tale of isolation and fatherhood. Here, Deuel has penned a book about fragility with the robustness of an empathetic essayist and the careful eye of a seasoned journalist.

I spoke with Deuel over Gchat about his time abroad, raising his daughter Loretta, the wonders of the internet, and the show Homeland.

Photos and captions throughout are by Deuel as well.

Kevin Nguyen: Nathan, what's your book about? Can you describe it in IMs?

Nathan Deuel: It's about moving to the Middle East in 2008 with my wife, who was a stringer for NPR. We scored visas to Saudi Arabia, one of the least understood and most mysterious countries in the world. We struggled to make a life there and to understand it and to make friends, and then we had a baby there, too.

It was hard and crazy and it all seemed to pay off when Kelly got her dream job.

The problem is that the job was in Baghdad.

The book then follows me to Turkey, where I attempted to raise Loretta mostly by myself, while Kelly dodged mortars and saw the end of our war there.

Then we moved to Lebanon, allegedly this really amazing posting. It was great, until the Syrian uprising turned into a civil war.

After half a decade, we were tired and bleary and strained and it was time to come home, whatever that means.

I think that's the book.

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