Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Billy Lynn is a hero…a gad-dam gen-u-wine hee-row…a nineteen-year-old Silver-Starred hero who watched his best friend die in his arms and got medalled for it. “Raped by angels” is how he and his fellow BRAVO teammates describe the firefights of their experience in “Eye-rack.” Now back stateside to a hero’s welcome…a two-week blitz through the swing states…culminating in talking a movie deal with a part-owner of the Dallas Cowboys. They are publicly lauded/humiliated during a sleet-filled losing game where the soldiers and Beyoncé are the halftime show. The fireworks come as a surprise and as BRAVO heart rates spike, and their eyes come loose in their sockets, they have a hard time holding their insides together and their hearts from jumping right through their mouths.
This is a brilliant mix of trash talk from the boys who keep us safe, and sober (well, somewhat sober) reflections on the state of America, our way of life, what we have done with our great resources and how we have created and shared wealth. The boys are going back, and they go back with their eyes opened to what they are defending, and what they are fighting and dying for. It should come as no surprise that they fight for one another, more than any ideals. America has shown herself to be less than ideal.
Ben Fountain has a real classic here. He has written a Catch-22 for today, and this should be widely read, shared, talked about. His riff on the machine that supports the Cowboys is simply too good to miss.
Harper Collins has had a number of fantastic successes recently (see Beautiful Ruins, Restoration, and Waiting for Sunrise) and is quickly becoming the press to beat. Kudos, HC!
BTW, turns out Fountain (Billy Lynn) and Walter (Beautiful Ruins) are friends. See an interview with Fountain here.
You can buy this book here: Tweet