23. A Book of Short Stories
Redeployment by Phil Klay won the National Book Award. The description, a book of stories about soldiers at war in Iraq in the post 9/11 era, caught my attention because I absolutely loved Tim O'Brien's book of short stories called The Things They Carried, short stories about soldiers in the Viet Nam war. I will never know war first hand (at least I hope never to) and am interested in the stories war brings to the table.
As one would expect the stories are full of irony, horror and hypocrisy. They are full of truth and beauty and terribly compelling. Heres a story about a chaplain trying to help men he ministers to be more compassionate. Heres a marine in a bar with his disfigured friend meeting beautiful women. Heres a story told all in military acryonyms. Heres a story about a man who comes to lead an NGO to do good works in a horrible place and finds that the best thing he can do is stage a photo of some boys playing baseball.
All told in first person, by male narrators, some long, some short, some stateside, some in Iraq, all worthy of attention. This is a fine collection. I enjoyed it.