Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction · Winner of the John Leonard First Book Prize · Selected as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post Book World, Amazon, and more
Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Former Marine Phil Klay presents a dozen stark, heartrending stories that provide us a window into a soldier's spirit and illustrate the nature of war. Constantly braiding hope with desperation, Klay wrestles with the complexities of foreign conflicts and shapes his vignettes with a keen ear for dialogue. In the story “Bodies,” he juxtaposes a soldier’s high school romance with his overseas assignment collecting human remains. “After Action Report” follows a different character’s attempts to comfort his friend after a chaotic firefight. Challenging and enlightening, Redeployment is a book that stays with you.
Klay's title story, a moving homage to soldiers of war who must return home to attempt a normal life, made a splash when it was first published in Granta. This debut collection of a dozen stories resonates with themes of battle and images of residual battlefield pain and psychological trauma. This is especially evident in heart-wrenching stories like "Bodies," in which a soldier buffers his grisly war stories in order not to have to truly share the horror of his tour in Iraq. Alternately, some stories are lighter and offer glimmers of humanity against Klay's bleak landscape of combat, as in "Money as a Weapons System," which finds a Foreign Service Officer charged with improving the civil affairs of Iraqi citizens by offering them baseball lessons. Klay grasps both tough-guy characterization and life spent in the field, yet he also mines the struggle of soldiers to be emotionally freed from the images they can't stop seeing. Written in clipped sentences capturing the brutality of conflict, the specter of death permeates each story, from the corpse-eating dogs in the title story to Sergeant Deetz in "Ten Kliks South," who snickers at his troop's body count of insurgents. It's clear that Klay, himself a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Iraq, has parlayed his insider's knowledge of soldier-bonding and emotional scarring into a collection that proves a powerful statement on the nature of war, violence, and the nuances of human nature.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I was confused at first, I didn't realize the protagonist were different people....reading on my phone I didn't have the info that they were different stories. However that brings me to the point of every story being "spoken" by the Same person. There didn't seem to be much difference in one "speaker" and the others. They all tended to view the war and their experiences pretty much the same way. The stories were all very well written and I enjoyed the book. There was a little missing in the form of credibility owing to the fact the author was not personally "over there".
Touching, heart breaking and true to life in war
Just to give you a little background on where I am coming from as a reader of this story: My husband was in the military our entire marriage. He went on nine deployments to seven combat zones. He recently retired out after working as a CSM (Command Sergeant Major). I was a military wife for 21 years.
Anyone who knows anyone who has been through war(s) always wonders what it is really like over there. My husband received two Bronze Stars and I know the basic facts for why he was awarded them but he does not tell "war stories". He does not talk about what really happens over there. I remember phone calls where I could here the bombs going off in the background and the line getting disconnected and not being able to talk to him for hours, days after; all the while wondering if he was ok. I know what it was like from my prospective but not his. I don't ask because I wouldn't understand and I know he doesn't want to talk about it with someone who has not been through. These short stories have enlightened me.
Each of the short stories in Redeployment showed me another side of the terrible effects of war and how it changes each person it touches. It hurt, it was raw, it was real and it really made me stop and think "is this what my husband went through all those years?!". I cried. I truly felt what each person was going through, how they were dealing with the aftermath of their lives.
There is so much I can say about this book but it all boils down to this. Read it. Understand what it is that each of these men & woman do for you, our country and their fellow soldiers because then we can all come together and rise up as one. Gather strength from those that protect us. Be encouraged by those that have beliefs so strong they are willing (and too often do) to die for. Strive to be like them. It has nothing to do with political stand points and everything to do with believing in something, someone, anything bigger than ourselves. If we all believe in each other we can be strong again.
Interesting and worth the read
Interesting read and kept me up late to finish the whole book.