Bring out the dog Stories

Will Mackin

Book - 2018

"In the tradition of Redeployment, a short story collection from a decorated U.S. Navy veteran who served several combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan--a powerful depiction of life on the front lines of today's warfare. A mesmerizing debut collection that reveals what it is like to be a member of an elite special operations team, when so many missions take place behind night vision, ancient credos, and layers of secrecy. Told without a trace of bravado, and with a keen, Barry Hannah-li...ke sense of the absurd, Will Mackin manages to capture the tragedy and heroism, degradation and exultation in the smallest details of war. Switching between settings at home and abroad, these eleven unforgettable stories explore the intense bonds, conflicting emotions, and surprising compassion that make up modern warfare"--

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Subjects
Genres
War fiction
Published
New York : Random House 2018.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
173 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780812995640
0812995643
Main Author
Will Mackin (author)
  • The lost troop
  • Welcome man will never fly
  • Kattekoppen
  • Rib night
  • Baker's strong point
  • Great cirlce route westward through perpetual night
  • Remain over day
  • Crossing the river No Name
  • The fire truck
  • Yankee two
  • Backmask.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Navy veteran Mackin turns in a virtuoso performance with this collection of loosely interconnected, military-themed short stories. In stories based on the author's own wartimeexperiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mackin does a fine job of showing us not only the realities of living in a wartime environment, but also the deep psychological toll the life of a soldier can take on a person. It would be simplistic to call these war stories; they're about combat, yes, but they are also about what happens in between the scenes of violence, when the combat is over, and professional soldiers need to figure out what to do with themselves (one of the stories literally involves a group of soldiers trying to determine what they should do in the absence of orders from their superiors). With vividly drawn characters and a strong sense of the absurdity of war, this striking debut collection will evoke memories of Tim O'Brien's classic Vietnam stories, The Things They Carried (1990). O'Brien's observation that "a true war story is never about war" is echoed here again and again. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

U.S. Navy veteran Mackin, who completed five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, gives us the first literary depiction of a SEAL Team at war. Two of the stories first appeared in The New Yorker, with one also showing up in Best American Short Stories 2014; the rest are original. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

DEBUT Retired Navy SEAL Mackin knows whereof he writes in these 11 stories of actions and ops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and stateside. The central story, both physically (in the book) and emotionally, is "Great Circle Route Westward Through Perpetual Night," in which a soldier panics and shoots the cadre's ultra-efficient, beloved bomb-sniffing dog. The soldier is shipped out, disgraced; it is okay, it is said, to know and feel fear but not to act out of it, and he will always be known as a soldier who killed one of his own. Throughout, the reader gets a feel for the edginess and sometimes hallucinogenic nature of night patrols, for ops gone good and bad, and, specifically, how to get bombers sighted in on targets. The writing is straightforward, Hemingway-esque, and descriptive, and the violence is not steeped in gore. Mackin also has an eye for the absurd, the improbable, which readers will appreciate. As usual in collections like this, the quality is not uniform—"The Fire Truck" for example, seems basically pointless—but on balance Macklin has made a strong debut. VERDICT A well-plotted group of small fictions for readers wishing a feel for the reality of recent U.S. ground wars. [See Prepub Alert, 9/25/17.]—Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this spellbinding, adrenaline-fueled debut linked collection, Mackin pulls from his own time in the Navy to follow a team of SEALs who, from 2008 to 2011, serve and try to survive together, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each story explodes with dust and dread as the SEALs are sent to recover the bodies of missing soldiers who were kidnapped south of Kabul; come to blows over chocolate milk in the mess hall; and snub a fellow SEAL who, disoriented in a cornfield one night, accidentally shoots the team's beloved bomb-sniffing dog. "We could forgive fear, but not the inability to control it," the narrator explains when the unfortunate man sits waiting with his bags after the incident. Throughout the book, though, it is the language as much as the experience that drives the action, creating taut, almost terrifying suspense. Mackin's masterful prose is both poetic and aggressive. In one of the collection's most haunting stories, "Crossing the River No Name," the men are preparing for an ambush against a group of Taliban fighters emerging from the mountains of Pakistan, "the type of mission that earlier in the war would have been fun." Before the mission's end, they will rediscover that, just because the war has become repetitive and futile, it doesn't mean anyone is safe. In this story, and indeed in the whole unforgettable collection, the men fighting this war know better than anyone how tragic each loss is. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (Mar.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"In the tradition of Redeployment, a short story collection from a decorated U.S. Navy veteran who served several combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan--a powerful depiction of life on the front lines of today's warfare. A mesmerizing debut collection that reveals what it is like to be a member of an elite special operations team, when so many missions take place behind night vision, ancient credos, and layers of secrecy. Told without a trace of bravado, and with a keen, Barry Hannah-like sense of the absurd, Will Mackin manages to capture the tragedy and heroism, degradation and exultation in the smallest details of war. Switching between settings at home and abroad, these eleven unforgettable stories explore the intense bonds, conflicting emotions, andsurprising compassion that make up modern warfare"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A short story collection from a U.S. Navy veteran who completed five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan stands as a remarkable series of episodes reflecting the absurdity and poetry that define life in the most clandestine circles of modern warfare.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A story collection from a U.S. Navy veteran reflects the absurdity and poetry that define life in the most clandestine circles of modern warfare.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

'A near-miraculous, brilliant debut.''George Saunders, Man Booker Prize'winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo'In one exquisitely crafted story after the next, Will Mackin maps the surreal psychological terrain of soldiers in a perpetual war.''Phil Klay, National Book Award'winning author of RedeploymentWINNER OF THE PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT SHORT STORY COLLECTION The eleven stories in Will Mackin's mesmerizing debut collection draw from his many deployments with a special operations task force in Iraq and Afghanistan. They began as notes he jotted on the inside of his forearm in grease pencil and, later, as bullet points on the torn-off flap of an MRE kit. Whenever possible he incorporated those notes into his journals. Years later, he used those journals to write this book. Together, the stories in Bring Out the Dog offer a remarkable portrait of the absurdity and poetry that define life in the most elite, clandestine circles of modern warfare. It is a world of intense bonds, ancient credos, and surprising compassion'of success, failure, and their elusive definitions. Moving between settings at home and abroad, in vivid language that reflects the wonder and discontent of war, Mackin draws the reader into a series of surreal, unsettling, and deeply human episodes: In 'Crossing the River No Name," a close call suggests that miracles do exist, even if they are in brutally short supply; in 'Great Circle Route Westward Through Perpetual Night," the death of the team's beloved dog plunges them into a different kind of grief; in 'Kattekoppen," a man struggles to reconcile his commitments as a father and his commitments as a soldier; and in 'Baker's Strong Point," a man whose job it is to pull things together struggles with a loss of control. Told without a trace of false bravado and with a keen, Barry Hannah'like sense of the absurd, Bring Out the Dog manages to capture the tragedy and heroism, the degradation and exultation, in the smallest details of war.Praise for Bring Out the Dog"Cuts through all the shiny and hyped-up rhetoric of wartime, and aggressively and masterfully draws a picture of the brutal, frightening, and even boring moments of deployment. . . . The Things They Carried, Redeployment, and now Bring Out the Dog: war stories for your bookshelf that will last a very long time, and serve as reminders of what America was, is, and can still become.''Chicago Review of Books