National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2013
Shortlisted for the National Book Award 2012
Shortlisted for the International Author of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
Nineteen-year-old Billy Lynn is home from war. Back in Texas, he has become a national celebrity. A Fox News crew filmed Billy and the rest of Bravo squad defeating Iraqi insurgents in a ferocious fire fight. Now Billy is a decorated soldier and Bravo's three minutes of extreme bravery under fire is a YouTube sensation. Seizing on this PR gift, the Bush administration has sent the surviving members of Bravo on a nationwide 'Victory Tour' to reassure the folks at home. Today, during the final hours of the tour, they arrive at Texas Stadium, guests of honour as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Chicago Bears in a nationally broadcast Thanksgiving Day game.
The story follows Billy and his fellow Bravos through a climactic afternoon, as they mix with the rich and powerful, endure the politics and affections of their fellow citizens, aspire to sex and marriage with the famous Cowboys cheerleaders, share centre stage with Destiny's Child during the halftime extravaganza, and attempt to close a movie deal with the help of a veteran Hollywood producer. They will learn hard truths about love and death, family and friendship, duty and honour. Tomorrow, they must go back to war.
“Ben Fountain's novel is an exhilarating, funny, heart-breaking glimpse into the life of a young soldier and into experiences in which we are complicit - but about which we understand nothing. And it finds its mark in an incredibly personal way. The book has left me reeling” (Colin Firth)
“Brilliant: funny, involving, warm-hearted, a book for our times” (Rachel Cook, Observer)
“A fierce, exhilarating novel about the Iraq war . . . And it is terrific: eloquent and angry, funny and poignant . . . Fountain, like better-known writers of his generation such as Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace, has dragged this ironic, media-saturated style back in the direction of sincerity, with rich, sharply drawn characters that you care about” (Theo Tait, Guardian)
“Ben Fountain's first novel is a barbed satire of America at war...This blurring of fiction, reality and America's epic capacity for the surreal is compelling” (Ben Felsenburg, Metro)
“With an almost perfectly well-judged, surprisingly understated ¬ending, the book feels to the reader much as the day feels to Lynn: you leave it with the sense of something spectacular and yet mournful having passed by in an exhilarating rush” (Robert Collins, Sunday Times)
“Brilliantly done . . . grand, intimate, and joyous” (Geoff Dyer, New York Times Book Review)
“I love this” (Nick Hornby)
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. Funny. thoughtful and plenty of momentum
- Chris N.
An important must read !
- Martin Brakman