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I enjoyed reading—and then writing about—Kim Barker's 2011 book, Taliban Shuffle, a memoir about her assignment to cover Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Tribune in the 2000s, back when the Trib still had a foreign service.
Her first draft was a wash-out. In the old-school reporting tradition, she kept herself pretty much out of the story. It didn't work. She asked friends to read that draft and they all had the same complaint. From my 2011 piece:
"They said, 'It's kind of boring without anything knitting it together. You're the hook, like it or not—you're the water carrier for this book. You've got to be all in or all out.'" So in she went, her loves, drunks, and tantrums—told with just enough discretion not to overwhelm her book's larger point, which is that the U.S. has got itself in a big mess in South Asia.
Loves! Drunks! Tantrums! Set against an exotic background teeming with violence and intrigue. Could there be a movie in that?
Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels intends to adapt Taliban Shuffle to the screen—and Tina Fey will star.
Tina Fey! I emailed Barker at ProPublica, where she works now, and asked how she feels about this development.
"Thrilled! I'm a huge fan," she wrote back.