- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; 1st Edition edition (May 1 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780060885595
- ISBN-13: 978-0060885595
- ASIN: 0060885599
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.7 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 476 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #438,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel Hardcover – May 1 2012
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“[An] inspired, blistering war novel…Though it covers only a few hours, the book is a gripping, eloquent provocation. Class, privilege, power, politics, sex, commerce and the life-or-death dynamics of battle all figure in Billy Lynn’s surreal game day experience.” (New York Times)
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is not merely good; it’s Pulitzer Prize-quality good . . . A bracing, fearless and uproarious satire of how contemporary war is waged and sold to the American public.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“A masterful echo of ‘Catch-22,’ with war in Iraq at the center. …a gut-punch of a debut novel…There’s hardly a false note, or even a slightly off-pitch one, in Fountain’s sympathetic, damning and structurally ambitious novel.” (Washington Post)
“Fountain’s excellent first novel follows a group of soldiers at a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day…Through the eyes of the titular soldier, Fountain creates a minutely observed portrait of a society with woefully misplaced priorities. [Fountain has] a pitch-perfect ear for American talk…” (The New Yorker)
“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a big one. This is the brush-clearing Bush book we’ve been waiting for.” (Harper's Magazine)
“Brilliantly done . . . grand, intimate, and joyous.” (New York Times Book Review)
“For Memorial Day why not turn to a biting, thoughtful, and absolutely spot-on new novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk…This postmodern swirl of inner substance, yellow ribbons, and good(ish) intentions is at the core of Ben Fountain’s brilliant Bush-era novel.” (The Daily Beast)
“Ben Fountain combines blistering, beautiful language with razor-sharp insight…and has written a funny novel that provides skewering critiques of America’s obsession with sports, spectacle, and war.” (Huffington Post)
“A brilliantly conceived first novel . . . The irony, sorrow, anger and examples of cognitive dissonance that suffuse this novel make it one of the most moving and remarkable novels I’ve ever read.” (Nancy Pearl, NPR, Morning Edition)
“Seething, brutally funny…[Fountain] leaves readers with a fully realized band of brothers…Fountain’s readers will never look at an NFL Sunday, or at America, in quite the same way.” (Sports Illustrated)
From the Back Cover
A finalist for the National Book Award!
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.See all Product description
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Whilst there Bravo get involved in a massive fire fight against Iraqi Jihadists and it is all picked up by a Fox news crew. This gets beamed around the World, catapulting these unsung heroes to stardom and more importantly a physical representation of the war in a positive light and thus all American heroes. We pick up the story as they near the end of 'The Victory Tour', for two weeks the surviving Bravos have been carted around America being shown off to the public and media in a fever of patriotic self pleasuring. They are now at the Dallas Cowboys football game and are undergoing a whole series of hoop jumping that at least is inconsiderate and at worst is humiliating. Billy is only nineteen and has missed out on a lot of what life has to offer including the opposite sex. His guiding hand in Bravo was 'Shroom' who was killed during their fire fight. Whilst the others act as an adequate support network especially so Sergeant Dime, Billy still has to do a lot of soul searching without the adequate education to properly add up all of the options. He also gets to meet the Cheerleaders.
We also have a sub plot of Albert, the Oscar winning film maker who wants to make the defining film of the Iraq war; that being their story. He is constantly trying to get Hilary Swank involved as well as do the Hollywood schmooze deals that are always just about to come off. As the clock ticks down to Bravo having to return to the front line all the issues start to come to a head.
This is an ambitious book and Ben Fountain has tackled that ambition, head on. Comparisons with 'Catch 22' are fair, as that book dealt with the politics of war as this does and dealt with the emotions of the ordinary soldier or 'grunt' and how the humanity is often drilled out and all that is left in place is a loyal soldier with a possible life of dysfunctionality laying ahead of him if by some miracle he actually survives.
This book also has a lot of humour and character study, Fountain does an excellent job at painting the picture and getting under the skin of his characters and constant references to real people give it an immediacy and authenticity. He also seems to understand the soldier's lot too and made that palpable in its naked awfulness. Whilst this is an excellent book, it is not an easy read, and that is a good thing, but I ended up really liking it hence my rating. But it is one of those books that I have been thinking about ever since I put it down, and it was one of those books that around half way through I wasn't sure if I wanted to finish it and yet by the end wanted to know more. Whatever your take on the Iraq war or books about said war this is still an excellent effort and I hope will become a classic.
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