Billy Lynn â€“ the eponymous hero of this book â€“ is a genuine American hero. He and his fellow Bravo Squad members decimated an insurgency â€“ caught on film by an embedded Fox News crew — and became overnight sensations in a nation starved for good news about Iraq. They are brought home for a media-intensive â€śVictory Tourâ€ť â€“ in cities that happen to lie in an electoral swing state — to reinvigorate support for the war. We meet them at the end of that tour, on a rainy Thanksgiving, hosted by Americaâ€™s Team, The Dallas Cowboys.
February 27, 2014
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 21st-Century, Football, Great American Novel, Real Event Fiction, War Story Â· Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Humorous, National Book Award Finalist, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), Texas, Unique Narrative, United States, y Award Winning Author
Dubravka Ugresic’s new collection of cultural essays deal, primarily, with “Nostalgia,” the title of her first piece.
Ms. Ugresice is a Croatian, formally a Yugoslavian, who now lives in Amsterdam.
Her essays delve into politics, history, popular US, Yugoslavian and European culture from the 1950′s to the 21st century, as well as her own thoughts and flights of fancy. She is branded a “Yugonostalgnic,” by many of her fellow countrymen and women. This is a derogatory term, a synonym for those who long for the days of the Yugoslavia of yore under the reign of Tito; dinosaurs who look back fondly to the slogan “brotherhood and unity.”
A perfect title for a stunning book. Its literal meaning is explained in the 1919 prologue, when a tree on which two men have been lynched falls deep into a sinkhole with the bodies still on it. The rest of the novel takes place in the present, or perhaps the not too distant future, when the land has been developed as an upscale subdivision for a rapidly growing city in the Midwest. But we are not quite there yet. In a second, slightly longer prologue, a woman goes to visit a convict on death row. It is a creepy, brilliant scene, although we know little of either of them, except that his name is Paul Krovik, and she regards him as a destroyer.
It was more than one hundred years ago that H. G. Wells penned the science fiction classic, The Invisible Man, which subsequently paved new paths in the horror genre. The idea of a mad scientist who makes himself invisible and becomes mentally deranged as a result, is one that has taken root in popular culture ever since.
In his genre-bending new novel, Chuck Klosterman borrows the essential elements from Wellsâ€™ classic with some modifications. For one thing, he fixes the science. There has been some discussion that a truly invisible man would have been blind whereas Wellsâ€™ lead character, Griffin, clearly was not. So Klostermanâ€™s protagonist, referred to simply as Y_, is not invisible â€” he is the visible man. But Y_ , much like Griffin, has an ability to make himself invisible to others.
Neal Stephensonâ€™s REAMDE, a play on words for the ReadMe file that accompanies many computer programs, is above all a wild adventure/detective story set in the present day. As one would expect from this author, current technology features prominently. The cast of characters is international, offering windows into such diverse types as Russian gangsters, Chinese hackers, American entrepreneurs, Idaho survivalists and second amendment fanatics among many others.
September 30, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 21st-Century, 700+ Pages, Neal Stephenson, Techno-Thriller, Terrorism, William Morrow Â· Posted in: Allegory/Fable, China, Speculative (Beyond Reality), Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Northwest, y Award Winning Author
The main character of Banksâ€™ new novel, a twenty-two-year-old registered sex offender in South Florida known only as â€śthe Kid,â€ť may initially repel readers. The Kid is recently out of jail and on ten-year probation in fictional Calusa County, and is required to wear a GPS for soliciting sex from an underage girl. Ironically, he is still a virgin.
The Kid cannot leave the county, but he also cannot reside within 2,500 feet from any place children would congregate. That leaves three optionsâ€”the swamplands, the airport area, or the Causeway. He chooses the Causeway and meets other sex offenders, a seriously motley crew, who consciously isolate from each other as a group. He befriends one old man, the Rabbit, but sticks to his tent, his bicycle, and his alligator-size pet iguana, Iggy. Later, he procures a Bible.