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Ben Fountain

Författare till Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

7+ verk 2,409 medlemmar 136 recensioner 3 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Ben Fountain is the author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which was a national bestseller and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award. A former practicing attorney, Fountain has taught at the University of Texas visa mer at Austin and Texas State University. visa färre

Inkluderar namnet: BenFountain

Foto taget av: Author Ben Fountain at the 2018 Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas, United States. By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74330238

Verk av Ben Fountain

Associerade verk

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection (2007) — Bidragsgivare — 212 exemplar
The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (2008) — Bidragsgivare — 122 exemplar
New Stories from the South 2006: The Year's Best (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 56 exemplar
Haiti Noir 2: The Classics (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 44 exemplar
Dallas Noir (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 41 exemplar

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Entertaining novel about a team of soldiers returning from Iraq for 2 weeks to be feted as heroes after being involved in a televised skirmish with insurgents. Most of the novel takes place at a Dallas Cowboys game where they are being honoured at half-time. It's a fairly black comedy, although contrary to the quotes it is no Catch-22.

The main characters are well defined, although there seems (to this bleeding-heart liberal) a left-wing bias (i.e., most of the sympathetic characters have some liberal leanings). I liked the charismatic sergeant characters, though questioned whether a single team would have two such iconoclasts - stretched my credulity a bit.

Fountain plays around with some experimental techniques - structured layout of text, word-cloud-type constructions - and tries to convey the actual mental state of the soldiers, and what effect war and death has on a young person. Good attempts without being revolutionary.

Overall, it's enjoyable, but maybe less than the sum of its parts (and the title doesn't really work). This would be a 3.5, but I'll bump up.
… (mer)
 
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thisisstephenbetts | 124 andra recensioner | Nov 25, 2023 |
DEVIL MAKES THREE by Ben Fountain
I very much disliked this book. It was too long by at least 100 pages. It was too disjointed as time, place, and characters jumped from page to page, even paragraph to paragraph with not even a line break to give the reader a clue to the jump. There was too much incomprehensible talk among the characters about Haitian politics and too many untranslated French words, phrases and sentences for this German speaking American. I knew little about Haitian politics before I read this book and I am still in the dark. I often felt I needed to stop reading and consult Wikipedia’s version of Haitian history.
Parts of the book were interesting and well written. One blurb writer called this book “a fast, riveting read. A gripping thriller…” he must have read a different book. This book was a struggle to get through the first hundred pages before the characters and plot started to become clear. I would have enjoyed a 300 page book of Matt and Alix’s treasure hunting adventures much more.
I found Audrey/Shelly simply too confusing to like or dislike or to follow her part in the story. Matt had an interesting ethical dilemma. Alix apparently had no problems in the ethical field at all. His sister chose and was in that way my favorite character.
4 stars for the writing: 3 stars for the plot and length.
… (mer)
 
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beckyhaase | Oct 22, 2023 |
Very entertaining satirical anti-war or perhaps anti-American culture novel. National Book Award finalist.
 
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markm2315 | 124 andra recensioner | Jul 1, 2023 |
The cover of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk trumpets it as Catch-22 for the Iraq War. While that's the hyperbole you'd expect from a cover blurb, there's an element of truth in it. The book does hold a mirror up to US society and the rather strange way that many Americans related to the war in Iraq as something noble and admirable, but not something they needed to actually make any sacrifices for, or get personally involved in.

Billy Lynn is an infantry grunt who gets involved in a battle that is captured on video by an embedded camera team. He and the rest of his Bravo squad are filmed rushing to the rescue of a fallen comrade and wiping out an insurgent cell against great odds. After screening on Fox News, the video goes viral and Bravo are American heroes du jour.

The Bravo squad are brought back home for a Victory Tour, which is pretty transparently a war propaganda exercise. Fountain gently mocks the earnestness with which rich Americans cozy up to the Bravos and make lots of noises about thanking them for their sacrifice and supporting the troops. Yet when the rights are discussed for a Hollywood film about Bravo's accomplishments, there is surprising little eagerness to thank and support them in any material sense.

Most of the book takes place on the last day of the Tour, where the Bravos are the guests of the Dallas Cowboys at a game. The owner and his coterie fawn all over the soldiers and wheel them around in a fashion that is blatantly about using their heroics to promote the game. Meanwhile the film rights negotiations are stalled, the soldiers are getting drunk and stroppy, and Billy is falling in love with a cheerleader while his sister hounds him via text to desert. All this occurs while Billy is keenly aware that the next day he will be winging his way bcd to Iraq, with no certainty that he will survive.

Fountain does a splendid job of juxtaposing the romanticised view of the soldiers' heroics held by the Stateside war supporters, who gush their support without ever dreaming of making a real contribution, with the reality of these rough-and-tumble poorly-educated street kids who are honestly described by their sergeant to one fan's horror as "cold-blooded killers".

Billy himself is a really sympathetic character; a poorly-educated juvenile criminal who signed up to avoid jail and then found himself a Youtube hero without even understanding why. He tries to puzzle through the reactions to Bravo's battle and reconcile them with his own experience. As he does so, you suspect that even as a 19 year old, there is a battle-hardened wisdom in Billy that the wheelers and dealers who try to exploit him will never attain.

Fountain's book does not go near Heller in terms of nailing the insanity of war, but he does an excellent job of capturing the emptiness of the "support-the-troops" rhetoric from people who do nothing more than watch the war on TV. If I would fault this book, I think it would be that Fountain doesn't do more with the actual battle. I was expecting him to flesh the battle out as the plot developed to give us more insight into Billy and his comrades-in-arms, but Fountain drops it about one-third of the way through and chooses instead to focus on events at the game. I also think more could have been done with the sub-plot regarding Billy's temptation to desert, which was pretty cursorily dealt with. These are not major concerns however; the book is still an excellent read.
… (mer)
 
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gjky | 124 andra recensioner | Apr 9, 2023 |

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Rick Bass Contributor
Cary Holladay Contributor
Maggie Shipstead Contributor
Stephanie Soileau Contributor
Daniel Orozco Contributor
Rebecca Makkai Contributor
Andrew Tonkovich Contributor
Ben Stroud Contributor
Douglas Watson Contributor
Shawn Vestal Contributor
Edith Pearlman Contributor
Miha Mazzini Contributor
Benjamin Percy Contributor
Robert Olen Butler Contributor
Kevin Wilson Contributor
Lauren Groff Contributor
Steve Almond Contributor
Karen E. Bender Contributor
Marisa Silver Contributor
Brock Clarke Contributor
Bill Roorbach Contributor
David Means Contributor
Brad Watson Contributor
Ron Rash Contributor
Kevin Brockmeier Contributor
Pieke Biermann Translator

Statistik

Verk
7
Även av
6
Medlemmar
2,409
Popularitet
#10,650
Betyg
3.9
Recensioner
136
ISBN
68
Språk
9
Favoritmärkt
3

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