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These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories by Luke…

These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories

by Luke Mogelson

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As brilliant a collection of stories as I have read. I am not a prolific reader of war stories per se, but I liked this is much as anything from Tim O'Brien or Kurt Vonnegut, and more than any of Hemingway, Greene, etc.

What resonated with me with how hard all of Mogelson's characters were trying to have control of their lives. Most failed to varying degrees, but all of them made an effort. It gave an air of tragedy to most of the stories, but there was humor in stories too.

The story that resonated with me most deeply was one about a son sent to live with his father for the summer, and taking the measure of the man, the son gains a new perspective.

A great collection of short stories. I'd recommend them to anyone. ( )
  jscape2000 | May 1, 2017 |
I received this book for free through Bookstr's giveaways.

Like most short story collections, there were some stories I liked and some that I didn't. My personal favorites were "To the Lake," "Sea Bass," and "Visitors".

The author did a good job of showcasing how war can affect people and their families.

Overall, it was well written and I enjoyed it. ( )
  jessicadelellis | Apr 19, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm a fan of short stories and I find stories that revolve around the effects of war fascinating, so Mogelson's collection really struck all the right chords for me. Mogelson does an excellent job of portraying the depth and span of war through the lens of PTSD as he explores various forms of abuse that veterans and their loved ones suffer.

Each story is told from the perspective of the veteran. This point of view adds strong emotion to each story. I was consistently surprised out how painfully emotional, yet different each story was in this collection.

I can see how the stories might get overwhelming if someone was looking for a diverse selection of topics, but if you're looking for a realistic, abrasive view into the world of veterans this is a must read. ( )
  MarcusH | Mar 8, 2017 |
The effects of war are unpredictable and ever-reaching. Luke
Mogulson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead, a collection of modern
war-related short stories, provides unsettling, haunting glimpses into
the lives of veterans suffering from varying degrees of PTSD. Like Tim
O’Brien’s epic Vietnam war novel The Things They Carried, (one of my
all-time favorites), These Heroic, Happy Dead exposes readers to the
unspoken issues, the ugly, dirty truths, and the huge burdens our
veterans, along with their families, are left to bear following their
service to our country.

Drug and alcohol abuse, violent mood swings and domestic violence are
but a few of the many post-combat issues Mogulson explores in his
series of short stories. Though the individual tales shift between
multiple veterans at various times in their military careers, the
common thread of alienation unites the characters. Following exposure
to the awful and at times beautiful elements of combat, the former
soldiers find re-acclimation to civilian society all but impossible.
Personal relationships, particularly romantic and marital, are shown
to suffer, often critically, unable to make allowances for the new
anger and proclivity for violence. In “To the Lake” and “Visitors”,
troubled veterans Bill and Rob, following their service, are prone to
violence. This results in loss of familial and romantic relationships,
and in Rob’s case, freedom, when he is imprisoned as a consequence for
acting upon his rage. Alcohol replaces conversation for several of the
characters who cannot discuss their experiences with friends or
family. This substance abuse serves to further alienate the character
from society, as well as exacerbate feelings of anger and depression.

Though dark in subject, These Heroic, Happy Dead is not without humor.
There are many instances of quirky, surprising comic relief littered
throughout the work which I found very welcome. This collection is not
a diatribe, but rather an evocative piece reminding us of the
ever-complicated messiness of war. Mogulson conveys empathy for not
just the veterans he creates, but for their families, friends, foreign
allies, and the many lives who are and forever will be affected by
their actions.

I enjoyed These Heroic, Happy Dead. Like Vonnegut and O’Brien before
him, Mogulson left me moved, uncomfortable, and in question of how
many elements of his work of fiction are, in part or in whole,
inspired by actual events. I appreciate his style and narrative voice,
shifting between characters and periods of time and resplendent with
many an interjection and expletive. Luke Mogulson has set the bar
quite high with this, his debut novel, thus ensuring that I, and no
doubt many others, will be keeping an eye out for his future works. ( )
  Bookwormshawn | Mar 2, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I offer two options for reading this book. Take your time and savor it like a 5 course meal with a good bottle of wine OR devour it in one sitting like a gluttonous critic.
Either way, you must read this one.
Tim O'brien may have met his match. Simply gorgeous. ( )
  martingayle | Jan 8, 2017 |
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