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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel | [Ben Fountain]

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

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....
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Audible Editor Reviews

"The narrator, Oliver Wyman.... imbues each member of Bravo Company with a thoughtfully defined character: Billy is unschooled but far from stupid, and Wyman walks that line effectively. The book's pages display words adrift in space, spelled phonetically… but Wyman manages to give each word and phrase the sensibility of the typographical tricks." (John Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review)

Publisher's Summary

National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2013

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.

Among the Bravos is the Silver Star-winning hero of Al-Ansakar Canal, Specialist William Lynn, a nineteen-year-old Texas native. Amid clamoring patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers on their cars, the Bravos are thrust into the company of the Cowboys' hard-nosed businessman/owner and his coterie of wealthy colleagues; a luscious born-again Cowboys cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized pro players eager for a vicarious taste of war. Among these faces Billy sees those of his family - his worried sisters and broken father - and Shroom, the philosophical sergeant who opened Billy's mind and died in his arms at Al-Ansakar.

Over the course of this day, Billy will begin to understand difficult truths about himself, his country, his struggling family, and his brothers-in-arms - soldiers both dead and alive. In the final few hours before returning to Iraq, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision, and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years.

Poignant, riotously funny, and exquisitely heartbreaking, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is a devastating portrait of our time, a searing and powerful novel that cements Ben Fountain's reputation as one of the finest writers of his generation.

©2012 Ben Fountain (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (372 )
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4.2 (328 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Susan K Treiman new york city 12-31-12
    Susan K Treiman new york city 12-31-12

    streiman

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    13
    11
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    "Great performance, ordinary book"

    While there were flashes of insight and some well-turned phrases, the majority of this book was a bit of a tedious read. Same old, same old relevations about war, America, etc., with a bit of cheerleader fantasy added in. I really did not like the story itself, but I loved the narrator's delivery. He was able to capture each character with an entirely different voice and persona, which made this a far more tolerable listening experience.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 11-09-12
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 11-09-12 Member Since 2008

    Lawyer, reader, writer, performer. Just love listening to books and talking about it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    205
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    115
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    14
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    "Know what you are getting"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I am scratching my head over this one. I think it is more a misconception over what I thought I was getting, and the new paperback cover depicts that story better. This is really not a war / military book, it is a Dallas Cowboy Thanksgiving Day book which centers on the experience from the point of view of some US soldiers who are stateside for a short publicity tour. It is not a bad book, just not a good choice for me.


    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Richmond Heights, MO, United States 08-26-13
    David Richmond Heights, MO, United States 08-26-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tediious"
    What disappointed you about Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk?

    Lack of plot. I got very tired of all of the angst.


    What could Ben Fountain have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Moved the setting.


    Did Oliver Wyman do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes


    What character would you cut from Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk?

    Almost all of them.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened for 2 hours and had to stop.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jenna western mass 09-04-14
    jenna western mass 09-04-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    13
    1
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    Story
    "couldn't do it"
    What could Ben Fountain have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    lack of plot. two hours in and the football game still hadn't started. though Wyman's performance of the different characters was outstanding, they weren't remarkable enough for me to keep track of while listening. overall the parts I listened to were very disjointed. never got hooked.


    What about Oliver Wyman’s performance did you like?

    he's a very talented narrator and did an amazing job differentiating the voices and accents of all the men.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. House 06-25-14
    H. House 06-25-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not as funny as it might have been 3 years ago"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    sure, but with the caveat that it's a little dated.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I loved the slow pace of every unfolding moment.


    What about Oliver Wyman’s performance did you like?

    Fantastic voices that were very easy to follow.


    Could you see Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Everything is made into a movie.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Boulder, CO, United States 03-31-14
    Thomas Boulder, CO, United States 03-31-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Caricatures, not characters"

    Ben Fountain's short stories "Close Encounters with Che Guevara" was one of my favorite books. This is an experimental novel, with no plot, in a nondescript setting. There are no characters either. There's a movie producer who's a caricature of movie producers. Billy Lynn is a 19-year-old who was given a choice between prison or the army. Beyond that he has no backstory. No other character has a backstory. The soldiers on leave just eat pizza and drink beer and call each other gay. I gave up after 2.5 hours. The writing is good but it's not a novel.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory AUSTIN, TEXAS, United States 08-28-13
    Gregory AUSTIN, TEXAS, United States 08-28-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Could have used a change of scenery"

    Engaging writing, well observed and funny. But the premise--a group of American soldiers being honored at a Cowboys' game--couldn't quite sustain an entire novel. Lots of throat clearing and speechifying, and some unpleasing repetitions of action and event. A really wonderful concept wasn't quite as wonderful a listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott EASTON, MD, United States 06-13-12
    Scott EASTON, MD, United States 06-13-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    5
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    "Interesting but kind of a let down"

    Didn't really live up to the reviews I read prior to purchasing the audiobook. The first half of the book was kind of dull but picked up in the 2nd half. I suppose to make a good story everything needs to be taken to an extreme (behavior, emotions etc...). This just felt too extreme and out of the norm for a situation like this.

    Not a bad story but nothing I would recommend.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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