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Friday, May 13, 2022

Bookonnection #2

Given how much I read and how many novels deal with the horror of war, it was just a matter of time until a bookonnection appeared. Mesmerized reading the penultimate scene in Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers (1974), I realized my reading journey over the last decade has exposed me - in some fashion - to every major conflict the U.S. was part of beginning at the start of the 20th century. Each of these worthwhile books increased my gratitude for the men and women in uniform, each has something to recommend, and every author - except for Stone - was new to me. Best part: Every one of these talented writers is worth a return trip. 

My literary journey began with the Korean War when I finished Lark and Termite (2009) by Jayne Anne Phillips. Although Phillips makes occasional demands on her readers, she is a gifted storyteller with a startling command of her craft. I travelled next to the Iraqi conflict with Kevin Powers in The Yellow Birds and soon after to Afghanistan via Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ben Fountain) both published in 2012. These two novels will remain with me because of their uncanny depictions of the inadequacy of words to convey the madness of combat. Both taught me that a person who has never experienced war - like me - can ever fully understand its lingering effects. 

My bookonnection deepened when Sebastian Faulks took me back to WWI in Birdsong (1993), one of four books featured in the first iteration of this series. Then, weeks before the nihilistic but masterful Dog Soldiers reminded me of the price we paid for our Vietnam misadventure, Shirley Hazzard transfixed me with her WWII tour-de-force The Great Fire. 

Where did your most recent bookonnection deliver you?

Reflections From The Bell Curve: Bookonnection


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