Billy Lynn's long halftime walk

Ben Fountain

Book - 2012

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FICTION/Fountain, Ben
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Subjects
Published
New York : Ecco c2012.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
307 p. ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780060885595
0060885599
Main Author
Ben Fountain (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Written in a voice that is at once hopeful, cautious, naive, profoundly wise, and completely lost yet utterly knowing, Fountain's most recent work of fiction delivers a brilliant, powerful examination of how modern warfare affects soldiers back at home. Billy Lynn is 19 and already a war hero after footage of a fierce battle between his squad and Iraqi insurgents went viral. Briefly back from Iraq on a "victory tour" through the states, the young Silver Star winner lives an entire lifetime over the course of one day, Thanksgiving, while he and his more worldly Bravo Squad members are feted by a deliriously grateful and mostly misunderstanding public. Attending a Dallas Cowboys game, Billy Lynn and Bravo Squad must juggle the possibility of endless love with cheerleaders, Hollywood producers seeking to make a movie about them, football players morbidly curious about what it's like to kill another human being, and all the conflicting emotions, thoughts, and actions each of them experiences while back in the land of sports mania, mass consumerism, and coveted yet fleeting fame before they return to the war itself. Billy's journey carries the reader along with its richly detailed, pitch-perfect language and characterizations, leaving an indelible impression. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Billy Lynn is a member of Bravo Company, which acquitted itself heroically in a deadly confrontation early in the Iraq War. An embedded reporter captured the battle on widely broadcast video. Now, on the last day of a victory tour, an insane PR event put on by the army, the company is at a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving football game. Native Texan Billy has been deeply affected by the death of squad leader Shroom, who gave him books to read and challenged him to think about what he was doing with his life. During a brief stop at home, Billy's sister urges him to refuse to return to Iraq. Billy also meets one of the fabled Cowboys cheerleaders, with whom he improbably forms an immediate and passionate connection, something that has opened a door to the possibility of a new, more hopeful life. But though Billy has had his eyes opened, in many ways he and his company are happier and feel more purposive as soldiers. VERDICT Employing intricate detail and feverish cinematography, Fountain's (Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories) vividly written novel is an allegorical hero's journey, a descent into madness, and a mirror held up to this society's high-definition TV reality. Tragically unhinged, it also rings completely, hilariously true. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/11.]—Jim Coan, SUNY at Oneonta [Page 70]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A member of Bravo Squad, whose fiercely fought battle in Iraq was caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew, Billy Lynn is on a victory tour of sorts with the survivors. In a compacted but unrushed time frame, Fountain effectively captures both the transformative experiences of one young man and the horrific impact of war. As he ponders life choices, Billy makes a surprising decision, bringing to a conclusion a perfect read. (LJ 5/15/12)—Barbara Hoffert (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Unfolding over the course of one Thanksgiving Day, Fountain's (Brief Encounters with Che Guevara) second novel follows Bravo Company, the eight survivors of a savage clash with Iraqi insurgents, on the last leg of their government-sponsored "Victory Tour" in this witty and ironic sendup of middle America, Fox News politics, and, of all things, football. One minute, the soldiers are drinking Jack and Cokes, mobbed by hordes of well-wishers demanding autographs and seeking "the truth" about what's "really going on" over there; the next, they're in the bowels of Texas Stadium, reluctantly hobnobbing with the Dallas Cowboys and their cheerleaders, brokering a movie deal with a smarmy Hollywood producer, and getting into a drunken scuffle with the stadium's disgruntled road crew, all in a series of uncomfortable scenes that border on the farcical. Texan Billy Lynn is the 19-year-old hero who learns about life and himself on his visit home to his family, and the palpable camaraderie between soldiers ground the book. But despite much valid pontificating on what it means to be a soldier and the chasm that exists between the American public's perception of the war and the blunt reality of it, the often campy writing style and canned dialogue ("We, like, we wanna do somethin' like you. Extreme, you know, cap some Muslim freaks...") prevents the message from being delivered effectively. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Asked to be part of the Dallas Cowboys' halftime show on Thanksgiving, Specialist Billy Lynn, one of the eight surviving men of the Bravo Squad, finds his life forever changed by this event that causes him to better understand difficult truths about himself.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq that explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. Follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Asked to be part of the Dallas Cowboys' Halftime Show, Specialist William Billy Lynn, one of the eight surviving men of the Bravo Squad, finds his life forever changed by this all-American event that causes him to better understand difficult truths about himself and those around him. 50,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and a finalist for the National Book Award!From the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, comes Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk ("The Catch-22 of the Iraq War" 'Karl Marlantes).A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq, it explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.Ben Fountain's remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and a finalist for the National Book Award!From the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, comes Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk ("The Catch-22 of the Iraq War" —Karl Marlantes).A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq, it explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.Ben Fountain’s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.