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Redeployment Hardcover – Mar 11 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (March 11 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204999
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Book Review:
“[Klay captures] on an intimate scale the ways in which the war in Iraq evoked a unique array of emotion, predicament and heartbreak. In Klay’s hands, Iraq comes across not merely as a theater of war but as a laboratory of the human condition in extremis. Redeployment is hilarious, biting, whipsawing and sad. It’s the best thing written so far on what the war did to people’s souls.”

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times:
“In Redeployment, his searing debut collection of short stories, Phil Klay—a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, who served in Iraq during the surge—gives the civilian reader a visceral feeling for what it is like to be a soldier in a combat zone, and what it is like to return home, still reeling from the dislocations of war. Gritty, unsparing and fiercely observed, these stories leave us with a harrowing sense of the war in Iraq as it was experienced, day by day, by individual soldiers."

George Packer, The New Yorker:
“The best literary work thus far written by a veteran of America’s recent wars.... Klay’s fiction peels back every pretty falsehood and self-delusion in the encounter between veterans and the people for whom they supposedly fought.”

Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine:
“An excellent, upsetting debut collection of short stories. Klay’s own view is everywhere, existential and practical, at home and abroad, distributed with wonderful clarity of voice and harrowing specificity of experience among Army chaplains, enlisted men, Foreign Service officers, members of Mortuary Affair, and more.”

The Wall Street Journal:
“The influences behind Mr. Klay’s writing go far beyond Iraq. At times Redeployment recapitulates the remarkably tender, self-conscious style that Tim O’Brien forged from his experiences in Vietnam…Mr. Klay is able to surprise and provoke….Mr. Klay gives a deeply disquieting view of a generation of soldiers reared on war’s most terrible contradictions.” 

Entertainment Weekly:
“Klay—a Marine who served during the surge—has an eye and an ear for a single searing line of dialogue or a scene of maddening dissonance that can pierce your soul….Klay brilliantly manages to wring some sense out of the nonsensical—resulting in an extraordinary, if unnerving, literary feat.” 

San Francisco Chronicle:
“Klay's closely observed debut collection of stories…makes a fine contribution….Klay establishes an impressive authority over his subject, which he maintains throughout the book in a clipped and jargon-laden prose.”

Portland Oregonian:
“One of the best debuts of the year.”

Men’s Journal:
“In a book that's drawing comparisons to classic war literature like Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, Klay examines the deep conflict, in all of us, between wanting to tell our stories and wanting to protect them from being diminished or misunderstood.”

The Daily Beast:
“Phil Klay has written brilliant, true, and winning fiction on the Iraq War.”

Grantland:
“Perhaps the most vital short story collection to emerge in the past few years….Redeployment falls somewhere between the in-the-trenches lyricism of Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds and the bold satire of Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. And yet, it feels more urgent than both…. Redeployment is urgent, smart, and darkly comic.”

Publishers Weekly (starred):
"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. 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."

Kirkus Reviews (starred):
“A sharp set of stories....Klay’s grasp of bureaucracy and bitter irony here rivals Joseph Heller and George Orwell....A no-nonsense and informed reckoning with combat.”

Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal:
“Important reading; pay attention.”

Lawrence Rungren, Library Journal:
"Harrowing at times and blackly comic at others, the author’s first collection could become for the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts what Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is for the Vietnam War."

Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk:
"If you want to know the real cost of war for those who do the fighting, read Redeployment. These stories say it all, with an eloquence and rare humanity that will simultaneously break your heart and give you reasons to hope."

Nathan Englander, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank:
"As we try to understand the human costs of yet another foreign conflict, Phil Klay brings us the stories of the American combatants, told in a distinct, new, and powerful voice."

Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!:
"Redeployment is a stunning, upsetting, urgently necessary book about the impact of the Iraq war on both soldiers and civilians. Klay's writing is searing and powerful, unsparing of its characters and its readers, art made from a soldier's fearless commitment to confront those losses that can't be tallied in statistics. 'Be honest with me,' a college student asks a returning veteran in one story, and Phil Klay's answer is a challenge of its own: these stories demand and deserve our attention.

Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead:
"Phil Klay's stories are tightly wound psychological thrillers. The global wars of our last decade weave in and out of these affecting tales about characters who sound and feel like your neighbors. Klay comes to us through Leo Tolstoy, Ray Carver, and Ann Beattie. It's a thrill to read a young writer so brilliantly parsing the complexities and vagaries of war. That he does so with surgical precision and artful zest makes this a must-read."

Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin:
"When the history of these times are finally shaken out, and the shredders have all been turned off, we will turn to writers like Phil Klay to finally understand the true nature of who we were, and where we have been, and where we are still going. He slips himself in under the skin of the war with a muscular language and an agile heart and a fair amount of complicated doubt.  Redeployment will be one of the great story collections of recent times. Phil Klay is a writer of our times. I can't wait to see what he does next."

Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone:
“To most, the war in Iraq is a finished chapter in history. Not so to the Marines, family members, and State Department employees in Phil Klay's electrifying debut collection, Redeployment. Thanks to these provocative and haunting stories, the war will also become viscerally real to readers. Phil Klay is a powerful new voice and Redeployment stands tall with the best war writing of this decade.”

Patrick McGrath, author of Trauma:
"Redeployment is fiction of a very high order. These are war stories, written with passion and urgency and consummate writerly skill. There's a clarity here that's lacerating in its precision and exhiliration in its effect."

Lea Carpenter, author of Eleven Days:
"These stories are surgically precise strikes to the heart; you can't read them without recalling other classic takes on war and loss—Conrad, Herr, Hemingway. Klay maps the cast of our recent Middle East conflicts and illuminates its literal, and philosophical center: human casualty."

Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta:
“These are gorgeous stories—fierce, intelligent and heartbreaking. Phil Klay, a former Marine, brings us both the news from Iraq and the news from back home. His writing is bold and sure, and full of all sorts of authority—literary, military and just plain human. This is news we need to hear, from a new writer  we need to know about.”

About the Author

Phil Klay is a Dartmouth grad and a veteran of the US Marine Corps.  He served in Iraq during the Surge and subsequently received an MFA from Hunter College, where he studied with Colum McCann and Peter Carey, and worked as Richard Ford’s research assistant.  His first published story, “Redeployment”, appeared in Granta’s Summer 2011 issue.  That story led to the sale of his forthcoming collection, which will be published in seven countries.  His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Tin House, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dorland on June 17 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Each war has its own type of fictional writing. Iraq was very different from say Vietnam as character remarks. In Iraq, troops seem to have been totally isolated from their surroundings except to go out on killing raids.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Bazzett on March 4 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
You won't find any sappy sentimentality or off-putting macho muscle flexing in Phil Klay's REDEPLOYMENT, a collection of twelve stories that all deal with combatants and veterans of the Iraq war. Nope. These stories are about as real and honest as anything you'll find being written these days about how the crucible of this war has affected the young men and women who were part of it, and, who have been irrevocably changed by it.

While there is not a false note to be found in any of these tales, the one that I found perhaps most affecting was "Prayer in the Furnace," told by a Catholic priest, a Marine Corps chaplain whose own faith is severely tested as he struggles to give aid to Marines severely traumatized physically, emotionally and spiritually by repeated combat tours. Men whose brains have been buffeted by blasts from IEDs and whose consciences are deadened and wracked by unspeakable atrocities witnessed - and committed - on a near-daily basis. The chaplain's role in a combat unit seems sadly marginalized, however, and although he turns for guidance to the writings of St John of the Cross and Augustine, in the end he feels frustrated, powerless and ashamed. (This story in particular I felt could be the basis for an equally powerful novel.)

There are also stories here of veterans trying to adjust, to assimilate back into civilian life; and struggling, feeling set apart, different. A former JAG officer who never saw combat, but did the paperwork, now a law student ready to enter a high-paying career, still feeling "more like a Marine out of the Corps than I'd felt while in it ... to everyone I met, I was 'the Marine.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 276 reviews
137 of 144 people found the following review helpful
None Can Understand Nov. 28 2013
By Eileen Granfors - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am a soldier's daughter. Because my father served in World War II (Navy then), he did not speak of the war to me when he came home. It wasn't done.

But as I came through the Vietnam era in college and saw my students go off to wars in the Middle East as a teacher, I became more and more obsessed with understanding war.

REDEPLOYMENT by Phil Klay gives a variety of perspectives of war. Because he uses short stories and a number of narrators, Klay can move from returned vet at the height of his PTSD to bored Foreign Service Officer trying to put Iraqi kids into baseball uniforms because someone upstairs wants a PR picture. Never mind that the child rounded up may have been working on an IED the day before. The plight of the soldier, his amped up emotions and his training to be vigilant, to KILL or BE KILLED, overrides all other themes. Whether a man has endured burns all over his body or has been awarded a Medal of Valor, the wars of this century have marked a generation of men (and women, whom Klay acknowledges) as surely as WWI marked Wilfred Owens, the poet.

This is a bruising, snarling, hair-tearing blast of the breaths of death and war. Phil Klay, you speak of what you know.

Though mankind does not seem to learn from the history of war, voices like Klay's help to remind those safely watching the evening news that the soldiers are people's sons, daughters, husbands, wives and the "collateral damage" includes children and families with no interest in politics or global strategies. Klay's narrators give us the shifting tides of war with the constant of harm, ruin, and pain.
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
The Stories You Don't See in the Headlines Jan. 13 2014
By asiana - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The various short stories in this collection tell the REAL cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and are more vivid than any war movie you might see on the screen. Through the eyes of one narrator, one feels the anxiety of a Marine sent out day after day on patrol, unknowing if the kids he sees on the street are just kids or are planting IEDs which could kill him. One feels the frustration of a Foreign Service Officer whose efforts to get a pipeline working is next to impossible due to the hatred between Sunnis and Shi'a. This same officer is told to use donated funds to provide baseball shirts to Iraqis even though they don't play baseball which shows that the US is the goose that lays the golden egg. A chaplain uses care packages from the US addressed "To Any Marine" to provide "cover" for those marines who are reluctant tot admit that they want to talk about concerns. The newspapers never talk about the use of drugs to help one sleep nor is there any mention of a "contact board" to show which platoon has the most engagements with the enemy. And, although the media convey much of the hardships veterans face when returning home, the story of a Marine who shot dogs who were eating corpses in Iraq and how his deployment affected him upon his return to civilian life, broke my heart. This is a book that should be read!!
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Conflict and Its Consequences in Two Wars Dec 23 2013
By not a natural - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Phil Klay's Redeployment is a collection of stories prompted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Redeployment is also the title of the lead story, which was also the lead in an earlier collection rooted in the same conflicts and titled Fire and Forget. Redeployment the story is simply brilliant. The experience of coming home after seven months in combat is described in a way that enables the reader to almost accomplish the impossible: experience this awkwardly joyful process as the Marines actually experience it.

The story deftly avoids the maudlin tears-of-joy theme that would have been convenient and easy to exploit as Marines are reunited with their families and loved ones. Instead, Klay gives us a realistic mix of humor, jubilation, sadness, humiliation, desperation, and the vague but soon-to-pass discomfort that comes from being reunited with those closest to us who have become, for the short term, a bit unfamiliar. Things like kissing your wife or hugging your child are not quite as automatically easy and taken for granted as they were seven months before. In most instances, things will return quickly to normal, but for now even the once intimately familiar takes a little getting accustomed to.

When I reviewed Fire and Forget, I noted that the story Redeployment is one of very few works of fiction that, at special places, made me turn away, wince, and feel like crying. The way Klay melds military training with love for an old friend that has suffered long enough is mesmerizing. Cold steel, hot lead, a serene wooded area, and the instantaneous termination of pain perfectly define the end of a relationship characterized by real love. It's something you can't imagine until you've read it.

The other stories in Redeployment range in quality from very good to worth reading but not moving or inspirational. To a greater or lesser degree, however, the one thing they all have in common is an instructive nature that helps readers understand the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in ways that otherwise would never have occurred to us. The same informative detail applies to the individual soldiers and Marines who served in combat and sometimes worked in excruciatingly mundane support roles. After all, someone has to clean up the body parts and see that they are properly identified and sorted.

In some stories there seems to be a gratuitous over-use of acronyms that state-side civilians don't recognize and can't figure out. However, anyone who has been in the service knows that that's the way it is. I was in the army for nearly two years before I realized that "I Corps" (pronounced "eye corps") was a large unit designated the First Corps, then stationed in Korea. Soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen often go through an entire enlistment responding correctly to an acronym, something like USASESS, without knowing what it means. (United States Army Southeastern Signal School, though that was 45 years ago, and it probably has a different name and acronym now.) The military is, indeed, a world apart with its own language and culture, and Klay skillfully makes this clear, especially in the story titled Frago.

In Money as a Weapons System, Klay does a fine job of reporting the almost unbelievable stupidity, greed, and ideological inflexibility that terminally hamper efforts to promote economic and other forms of essential development in Third World nations such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Money as a Weapons System makes abundantly evident that the idiots are most often not the ones wearing uniforms, but out-of-touch civilians who are frequently not even in-country. Members of the military and the civilians working closest with them do the best they can with the orders they're given, even when the directives are patently senseless. Ironically, however, even the most seasoned veterans of hopelessly misguided nation-building sometimes acknowledge that, in spite of the nonsensical nature of so many developmental efforts, over time things do get a bit better. I was surprised when I read this observation made by an experienced army major, and I believed him, but I'm still trying to make sense of it.

Prayer in the Furnace is a story that sometimes devolves into platitudes, bromides, cliche's, and obvious pastoral blunders. Nevertheless, it does a creditable job of making painfully evident the psychological cost of long-term combat. Yes, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is one debilitating consequence, but so are uncomplicated but deeply felt guilt and shame, sometimes sources of anguish that simply can't be put down and may lead to self-destruction. How do you cope with the death of the closest friend you've ever had? How do you come to terms with the accidental killing of a child, or the intentional killing of a child who has been turned into an unwitting warrior? What do you do when your commanding officer is a reckless butcher who has no interest in his men's welfare and demands that they kill anything that looks even vaguely suspicious?

The weakest stories in Redeployment, especially Psychological Operations, are set entirely state-side. They're not completely without merit, but they don't measure up to the interest generated by the rest of Klay's collection. Nevertheless, a story that forces us to to ask ourselves how we'd function in civilian life if we'd had our face burned off by a battlefield explosion is almost certain to hit home. A horrifying question posed by the short piece titled War Stories.

Redeployment is an uneven collection, but from stories that are brilliant to those that are so-so, every page warrants reading. It doesn't matter if the reader is pro-war, anti-war, or indifferent, Redeployment is a good book.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Pay attention. As real and honest as it gets. Highly recommended. March 4 2014
By Timothy J. Bazzett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You won't find any sappy sentimentality or off-putting macho muscle flexing in Phil Klay's REDEPLOYMENT, a collection of twelve stories that all deal with combatants and veterans of the Iraq war. Nope. These stories are about as real and honest as anything you'll find being written these days about how the crucible of this war has affected the young men and women who were part of it, and, who have been irrevocably changed by it.

While there is not a false note to be found in any of these tales, the one that I found perhaps most affecting was "Prayer in the Furnace," told by a Catholic priest, a Marine Corps chaplain whose own faith is severely tested as he struggles to give aid to Marines severely traumatized physically, emotionally and spiritually by repeated combat tours. Men whose brains have been buffeted by blasts from IEDs and whose consciences are deadened and wracked by unspeakable atrocities witnessed - and committed - on a near-daily basis. The chaplain's role in a combat unit seems sadly marginalized, however, and although he turns for guidance to the writings of St John of the Cross and Augustine, in the end he feels frustrated, powerless and ashamed. (This story in particular I felt could be the basis for an equally powerful novel.)

There are also stories here of veterans trying to adjust, to assimilate back into civilian life; and struggling, feeling set apart, different. A former JAG officer who never saw combat, but did the paperwork, now a law student ready to enter a high-paying career, still feeling "more like a Marine out of the Corps than I'd felt while in it ... to everyone I met, I was 'the Marine.'" ("Unless It's a Sucking Chest Wound")

There is the very dark humor of combat vets, as displayed in "War Stories" in which the narrator jokes about hitting on girls in bars, and using his friend Jenks's awful disfigurement from burns sustained in an IED explosion, saying, "Who's gonna call bulls**t when you're sitting there in the corner looking all Nightmare on Elm Street?"

"Bodies" tells of a young Marine who works in Mortuary Affairs, a job which, of course, requires him to handle the mutilated bodies of both U.S. dead and enemy dead. But the title takes on an even more poignant meaning when he goes home on leave and seeks out his ex-girlfriend from high school. After dealing so much in death and dead bodies he needed desperately to feel the opposite. Convincing her of this, they lie quietly, their bodies spooned together.

"There was a warmth to her that flowed into me, and though she was tense at first, like she'd been earlier, she relaxed after a bit and it stopped feeling like I was grabbing her and more like we were fitting into each other. I relaxed too, all the sharp edges of my body lost in the feel of her. Her hips, her legs, her hair, the nape of her neck. Her hair smelled like citrus, and her neck smelled softly of sweat. I wanted to kiss her there because I knew I'd taste salt."

There is little or no eroticism in this scene. It is more a depiction of a simple yet urgent need for human warmth and contact - of an ineffable longing, of loneliness.

I could cite other examples of how each of these stories grabbed me, made me pay attention. Oddly, I am suddenly reminded of that desperate closing scene from DEATH OF A SALESMAN, in which Willy Loman's distraught widow cries out, "Attention must be paid!" Because these stories without question deserve our attention. In a country where the burden of military service is shouldered by a mere one percent of the population, these Marines and soldiers deserve not just our attention, but our utmost respect and gratitude.

REDEPLOYMENT is a damn good book. It will deservedly join the ranks of other fine fictional works coming out of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, books like THE YELLOW BIRDS, YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE, and THE WATCH. Well done, Mr. Klay. Highly recommended.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the Cold War memoir, SOLDIER BOY: AT PLAY IN THE ASA
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Marine Comes Back from Iraq to Make Us Feel Like We Were There March 9 2014
By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Not since Thom Jones' The Pugilist at Rest, a collection of stories mostly centered on a Marine vet who toured Vietnam published about twenty years ago, have I read a short story collection about the "war experience" that is so riveting and philosophically rich, in turn addressing PTSD, theodicy (suffering in the face of an all-powerful, all-loving God), the difficulty of love and reconciling soldier mode with civilian mode.

In unadorned prose Phil Klay, a Marine who toured Iraq and picked up dead bodies, did MP work, and provided social services to sick children and women among a plethora of other things, makes us feel like we're in Iraq, makes us feel the pain of war, and makes us feel the awkwardness of returning to the States, trying to undertake the excruciating task of integrating a fragmented self into civilian life. In one story, he juxtaposes a shooting spree of stray dogs in Iraq with the task of ending the life of his beloved rescue dog that is suffering in old age. In another, he addresses the absurdities of trying to implement social services in war-torn Iraq underneath a labyrinth of bureaucracy. In another he visits, his fiancé and realizes that after his war tour they are worlds apart. In another a priest tries to summon his theology to understand the suffering he sees as war vets with PTSD die brutal deaths or commit suicide.

My favorite stories read like autobiographical essays. They have an immediacy about them that makes me forget I am reading but rather am experiencing the unspeakable grotesqueries of war. Highly recommended.


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