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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain


Overview -

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and a finalist for the National Book Award

From the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara , comes Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk ("The Catch-22 of the Iraq War" Karl Marlantes).  Read more...


 
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More About Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
 
 
 
Overview

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and a finalist for the National Book Award

From the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, comes Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk ("The Catch-22 of the Iraq War" Karl Marlantes).

A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq, it explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.

Ben Fountain s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780060885595
  • ISBN-10: 0060885599
  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: May 2012
  • Page Count: 307


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-02-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

Unfolding over the course of one Thanksgiving Day, Fountain’s (Brief Encounters with Che Guevara) second novel follows Bravo Company, the eight survivors of a savage clash with Iraqi insurgents, on the last leg of their government-sponsored “Victory Tour” in this witty and ironic sendup of middle America, Fox News politics, and, of all things, football. One minute, the soldiers are drinking Jack and Cokes, mobbed by hordes of well-wishers demanding autographs and seeking “the truth” about what’s “really going on” over there; the next, they’re in the bowels of Texas Stadium, reluctantly hobnobbing with the Dallas Cowboys and their cheerleaders, brokering a movie deal with a smarmy Hollywood producer, and getting into a drunken scuffle with the stadium’s disgruntled road crew, all in a series of uncomfortable scenes that border on the farcical. Texan Billy Lynn is the 19-year-old hero who learns about life and himself on his visit home to his family, and the palpable camaraderie between soldiers ground the book. But despite much valid pontificating on what it means to be a soldier and the chasm that exists between the American public’s perception of the war and the blunt reality of it, the often campy writing style and canned dialogue (“We, like, we wanna do somethin’ like you. Extreme, you know, cap some Muslim freaks...”) prevents the message from being delivered effectively. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (May)

 
BookPage Reviews

Talkin' about war down in Texas

The year is 2004, and the war in Iraq slogs on, with rising casualties and no sign of the weapons of mass destruction. When a squad of brave soldiers comes to the aid of their ambushed comrades and the subsequent firefight is captured by an embedded Fox News camera team, the men become instant celebrities.

That’s the premise of Ben Fountain’s sly, raucous, occasionally bawdy first novel, one that recounts the wildly improbable Thanksgiving Day that eight members of Bravo squad, including Texas native Specialist Billy Lynn, spend as guests of the Dallas Cowboys. Fountain employs his ample satiric gifts to depict how flag-waving patriotism merges with our worship of professional football in a single manic event.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk teems with a host of colorful characters, starting with the members of Billy’s squad—men with nicknames like “A-bort” and “Load.” Accompanying them is a Hollywood producer who’s optioned their story and thinks he’s about to persuade Hilary Swank to sign on to the project. There are the nubile Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and the team’s slick, predatory owner. In a wickedly funny locker room scene, the football stars offer to make an excursion to Iraq (no more than a couple of weeks, of course) to polish off a few terrorists.

The fawning civilians (still recovering from the shock of “nina leven” and committed to the war on “terrRr”) are mesmerized by the soldiers’ courage, and yet somehow detached from their experience. Fountain perfectly captures the bewilderment of Billy and his cohorts at this phenomenon, made more poignant by the knowledge that the white Hummer limousine that will transport them from Texas Stadium at game’s end is the first step in their redeployment to Iraq.

No doubt there will be other novels that turn to humor to examine this troublesome period in our nation’s history. They will certainly find themselves up against some stiff competition when measured against this shrewd story.

 
BAM Customer Reviews