Phil Klay's Redeployment takes listeners to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.
In Redeployment, a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened.
A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains - of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming.
Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation.
©2014 Phil Klay (P)2014 Penguin Audio
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
This book is a collection of short stories. Each story makes its point but leaves you with something to consider. The author does not preach but offers a perspective the each and every main character's POV in each short. This offers us the opportunity to experience the circumstances first hand and unfiltered. Some of the stories are more traumatic than others. There is a touch of gruesomeness of war, but no more than you would find in a Steven King novel and these stories are real. I like the book precisely because it make you think instead of telling you how it is.
Although the narrator is good, the transition from one story to the next sometimes jars you as the narrator switch personas without changing voice. It would have been more effective if there were two narrators alternating each short.
The other thing that will be a little challenging is understanding all of the three letter acronyms. For example FOB mean forward operating base. Luckily I have a good grip on the vocabulary, but for some, you are going to have to use the Internet. My wife, daughter, and boyfriend of daughter are reading it while I listened. It is a part of our book circle. My daughter's boyfriend recommended it and it has been a excellent choice. I would recommend for a club setting. Those you loved Kite Runner may find this book interesting. I give it a thumbs up.
Yes, I would listen to it again or, better yet, read the book on my Kindle.
Excellent, multi-faceted, multi-character set of stories, all linked together from the Iraq war. Very well written & well narrated.
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