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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben…
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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2012)

by Ben Fountain

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Set in Texas during the war in Iraq, this novel explores the huge gap between the war at home and the real one abroad. The focus is on the surviving members of Bravo Squad at one their exhaustive media stops in Dallas during their "VictoryTour." Remarkable. ( )
  creighley | Jun 28, 2016 |
Energetic, sharp, insightful prose. So good it made me envious of the writer. ( )
  AnnAnderson | Jun 25, 2016 |
Incredible and such a pleasure to read. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
This novel is to the Iraq/Afghanistan generation as Catch 22 was to WW II and Vietnam. Billy Lynn, conscripted by a mean judge into jail or the service at age 19, performs a dramatic rescue during a firefight in Iraq. His Bravo Company, minus the dead, are brought back to the US for a VICTORY TOUR culminating in a halftime appearance at Dallas Stadium for Thanksgiving. It's so ridiculous, even to the naïve Billy, that all the guys get shitfaced and stoned as quickly as possible. And Billy's on track to lose his virginity to a Dallas cheerleader. And to perform with Beyoncé at halftime. And then to be shipped back to Iraq.

The hypocrisy, expressed in perfect word clouds, is strong in this one. Laughter and tears are very close. This novel is a triumph that I hope will not be ruined by the upcoming film. YOU MUST READ THIS FIRST. ( )
  froxgirl | May 10, 2016 |
It's almost horrible that the first two books I have read in 2016 have been as good as they were; it will seem like every book from here out will be a let down.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is a powerful book about a heroic squad of soldiers who come home to be honored and then they are invited to the spectacle of a Thanksgiving Cowboys game where the juxtaposition between that world, the one of the commercial, professional football business with all of its free-flowing money and materials, and the soldiers' world, where very little is free-flowing except Iraqi animosity and shrapnel, sears.

Unflinching and very much worth reading. ( )
  SaschaD | Apr 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Every two or three years, if I'm lucky, I get my hands on a novel that I simply can't shut up about, a novel I shout from my humble mountaintop to anyone who will listen, a novel that I hand-sell any time I have a literate audience of one or more. In many cases, I'll purchase this novel, over and over and over, and put it in the hands of readers....One novel this year blew the top of my head off like no other, and that was Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain....

No brow-beating, no navel gazing and no ranting. Just great storytelling, fully realized characters and sentences that crackle. In short, Fountain makes it look easy.
added by zhejw | editNPR, Jonathan Evison (Nov 28, 2012)
 
The novel is niftily postmodern, in that it deals with a heavily mediated reality. Bravo squad aren't even called Bravo squad, but that was what the "Fox embed" christened them. They hear their story being spun in real time: "Carl, what can I say?" says Albert, the movie producer, on the phone. "It's a war picture – not everybody gets out alive." The stadium is dominated by the huge "Jumbotron" screen; Billy wonders whether "maybe the game is just an ad for the ads". But Fountain, like better-known writers of his generation such as Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace, has dragged this ironic, media-saturated style back in the direction of sincerity, with rich, sharply drawn characters that you care about. Beneath the dazzle, there's a story as old and simple as Kipling's poem "Tommy": "They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls, / But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!"
added by zhejw | editThe Guardian, Theo Tait (Jul 6, 2012)
 
The irony, sorrow, anger and examples of cognitive dissonance that suffuse this novel make it one of the most moving and remarkable novels I've ever read.
added by zhejw | editNPR, Nance Pearl (May 21, 2012)
 
There’s hardly a false note, or even a slightly off-pitch one, in Fountain’s sympathetic, damning and structurally ambitious novel. (The whole story, with the exception of a flashback or two, takes place during the course of a single afternoon.) Billy and the other Bravos are, for the most part, uneducated, but they possess a rare intelligence that allows them to see things as they really are, which is not exactly the way the pro-war meme generators want Americans to see them.

By the novel’s end, we’re forced to reassess what it means to “support the troops.” Does it simply mean letting them know they’re in our prayers as we send them back into battle and go about our business? Does it mean turning them into gaudy celebrities? Or could there perhaps be a more honorable and appropriately humble way to commemorate their service? “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” asks us to consider the uncomfortable possibility that we don’t really know the answer anymore.
 

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Book description
A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal"—three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew—has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys, slated to be part of the halftime show alongside the superstar pop group Destiny's Child.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060885599, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2012: Billy Lynn and his Bravo squad mates have become heroes thanks to an embedded Fox News crew’s footage of their firefight against Iraqi insurgents. During one day of their bizarre Victory Tour, set mostly at a Thanksgiving Day football game at Texas Stadium, they’re wooed by Hollywood producers, smitten by Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, and share a stage at halftime with Beyonce. Guzzling Jack and Cokes and scuffling with fans, the Bravos are conflicted soldiers. “Okay, so maybe they aren’t the greatest generation,” writes debut author (!) Ben Fountain, who manages a sly feat: giving us a maddening and believable cast of characters who make us feel what it must be like to go to war. Veering from euphoria to dread to hope, Billy Lynn is a propulsive story that feels real and true. With fierce and fearless writing, Fountain is a writer worth every accolade about to come his way. --Neal Thompson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq that explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. 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.… (more)

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