For readers of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Redeployment, a searing debut exploring the lives of veterans returning to their homes in the South.
Lacerating and lyrical, We Come to Our Senses centers on men and women affected by combat directly and tangentially, and the peculiar legacies of war. The story “Evie M.” is about a vet turned office clerk whose petty neuroses derail even her suicide; in “We Come to Our Senses,” a hip young couple leaves the city for the sticks, trading film festivals for firearms; in “Colleen” a woman redeploys to her Mississippi hometown, and confronts the superior who abused her at war; and in “11/19/98” a couple obsesses over sitcoms and retail catalogs, extracting joy and deeper meaning. The story “Hers” is about the sexual politics of a combat zone.
Fans of Phil Klay's Redeployment and Kevin Powers's The Yellow Birds will enjoy this lyrical debut collection about soldiers returning home to the South from various conflicts. Through 15 thematically linked short stories, veteran and Southerner Lindsey gives the kind of poetic voice to redeployed contemporary veterans, their loved ones, and the rural atmosphere around them that can only be achieved through firsthand experience. In "Evie M." (multiple stories in this collection are named after their protagonist), the protagonist diligently follows instructions at her cubicle job, while her home life is obsessively dictated by penning suicide notes and the timing of television shows. In "Darla," the protagonist's city life is upended when she's infected with an autoimmune-deficiency virus from a soldier on furlough; she then returns to her rural home and learns to maintain a relationship within the confines of her affliction. In "Wall," a man builds a relationship with a stranger through his apartment wall one he's too damaged to act on. In "Colleen," the protagonist realizes she's not over sexual abuse from a fellow soldier when she finally confronts him in a bar. Lindsey brings an essential new voice to the traumas of war's lasting aftermath.