Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

4.3 88
by Ben Fountain
     
 

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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).

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“The best book about the Iraq War and Destiny’s Child that you’ll ever read.”
Nancy Pearl
“A brilliantly conceived first novel . . . The irony, sorrow, anger and examples of cognitive dissonance that suffuse this novel make it one of the most moving and remarkable novels I’ve ever read.”
Margot Livesey
“Passionate, irreverent, utterly relevant Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk offers an unforgettable portrait of a reluctant hero. Ben Fountain writes like a man inspired and his razor sharp exploration of our contemporary ironies will break your heart.”
Karl Marlantes
“[T]he Catch-22 of the Iraq War....Fountain applies the heat of his wicked sense of humor while you face the truth of who we have become. Live one day inside Billy Lynn’s head and you’ll never again see our soldiers or America in the same way.”
Pat Conroy
“Ben Fountain stormed to the front lines of American fiction when he published his astonishing...Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. His first novel will raise his stature and add to his splendid reputation. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is both hilarious and heartbreaking.”
Barbara's Picks
“Fountain is the Pen/Hemingway Award winner of the bristly and satisfying Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, so I expect lots from this book.”
Malcolm Gladwell
“So much of Fountain’s work...reads with an easy grace.... [S]ometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.”
Esquire
“It’s a darkly humorous satire about the war at home, absurd and believable at the same time.”
Texas Books in Review
“To call Fountain’s work enjoyable would be an understatement because it quite simply is one of the best novels written in the past five years.”
Los Angeles Times
“Darkly comic…Rarely does such a ruminative novel close with such momentum.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Fountain’s strength as a writer is that he not only can conjure up this all-too-realistic-sounding mob, but also the young believably innocent soul for our times, Specialist Billy Lynn. And from the first page I found myself rooting for him, often from the edge of my seat.”
The Rumpus
“[A] masterly . . . tightly structured book [with] a sprawling amount of drama and emotion.”
Shelf Awareness
“A truly wondrous first novel.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“While Fountain undoubtedly knows his Graham Greene and Paul Theroux, his excursions into foreign infernos have an innocence all their own. In between his nihilistic descriptions, a boyishness keeps peeking out, cracking one-liners and admiring the amazing if benighted scenery.”
The Millions
“Here is a novel that is deeply engaged with our contemporary world, timely and timeless at once. Plus, it’s such fun to read.”
Sacramento Bee
“The chasm between the reality and the glorification of war hasn’t been this surreal since Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.”
Philadelphia City Paper
“…wickedly affecting…Billy Lynn has courted some Catch-22 comparisons, and they’re well-earned. Fountain is a whiz at lining up plausible inanities and gut-twisting truths for the Bravos to suffer through.”
BookRiot
“[A] wonderfully readable book [which] does something similar to Why Are We in Vietnam?, asking hard questions about the cultural short-sightedness that contributed to our involvement in Iraq. As a veteran myself, I can attest that it’s spot on.”
Madison Smartt Bell
“Ben Fountain’s Halftime is as close to the Great American Novel as anyone is likely to come these days—an extraordinary work that captures and releases the unquiet spirit of our age, and will probably be remembered as one of the important books of this decade.”
San Francisco Chronicle
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is not merely good; it’s Pulitzer Prize-quality good . . . A bracing, fearless and uproarious satire of how contemporary war is waged and sold to the American public.”
New York Times Book Review
“Brilliantly done . . . grand, intimate, and joyous.”
New York Times
“[An] inspired, blistering war novel…Though it covers only a few hours, the book is a gripping, eloquent provocation. Class, privilege, power, politics, sex, commerce and the life-or-death dynamics of battle all figure in Billy Lynn’s surreal game day experience.”
Washington Post
“A masterful echo of ‘Catch-22,’ with war in Iraq at the center. …a gut-punch of a debut novel…There’s hardly a false note, or even a slightly off-pitch one, in Fountain’s sympathetic, damning and structurally ambitious novel.”
The New Yorker
“Fountain’s excellent first novel follows a group of soldiers at a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day…Through the eyes of the titular soldier, Fountain creates a minutely observed portrait of a society with woefully misplaced priorities. [Fountain has] a pitch-perfect ear for American talk…”
Harper's Magazine
“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a big one. This is the brush-clearing Bush book we’ve been waiting for.”
The Daily Beast
“Biting, thoughtful, and absolutely spot-on. . . . This postmodern swirl of inner substance, yellow ribbons, and good(ish) intentions is at the core of Ben Fountain’s brilliant Bush-era novel.”
Huffington Post
“Ben Fountain combines blistering, beautiful language with razor-sharp insight…and has written a funny novel that provides skewering critiques of America’s obsession with sports, spectacle, and war.”
Sports Illustrated
“Seething, brutally funny…[Fountain] leaves readers with a fully realized band of brothers…Fountain’s readers will never look at an NFL Sunday, or at America, in quite the same way.”
Tampa Bay Times
“The Iraq war hasn’t yet had its Catch-22 or Slaughterhouse-Five, but Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a contender… A wicked sense of humor, wonderful writing and, beneath the anger and outrage, a generous heart.”
Jeff Turrentine
…a masterful gut-punch of a debut novel…Catch-22 is about to be updated for a new era. In his immortal classic, Heller was lampooning the military's attempt to bureaucratize the horror of World War II. In Fountain's razor-sharp, darkly comic novel—a worthy neighbor to Catch-22 on the bookshelf of war fiction—the focus has shifted from bureaucracy to publicity, reflecting corresponding shifts in our culture…There's hardly a false note, or even a slightly off-pitch one, in Fountain's sympathetic, damning and structurally ambitious novel.
—The Washington Post
Janet Maslin
…[an] inspired, blistering war novel…Mr. Fountain…sets up this Thanksgiving game as an artfully detailed microcosm of America in general, and George W. Bush's Texas in particular, during the Iraq war. Though it covers only a few hours, the book is a gripping, eloquent provocation. Class, privilege, power, politics, sex, commerce and the life-or-death dynamics of battle all figure in Billy Lynn's surreal game day experience.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060885618
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
74,925
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.79(d)

What People are saying about this

Nancy Pearl

“A brilliantly conceived first novel . . . The irony, sorrow, anger and examples of cognitive dissonance that suffuse this novel make it one of the most moving and remarkable novels I’ve ever read.”

Margot Livesey

“Passionate, irreverent, utterly relevant Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk offers an unforgettable portrait of a reluctant hero. Ben Fountain writes like a man inspired and his razor sharp exploration of our contemporary ironies will break your heart.”

Madison Smartt Bell

“Ben Fountain’s Halftime is as close to the Great American Novel as anyone is likely to come these days—an extraordinary work that captures and releases the unquiet spirit of our age, and will probably be remembered as one of the important books of this decade.”

Barbara's Picks

“Fountain is the Pen/Hemingway Award winner of the bristly and satisfying Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, so I expect lots from this book.”

Pat Conroy

“Ben Fountain stormed to the front lines of American fiction when he published his astonishing...Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. His first novel will raise his stature and add to his splendid reputation. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is both hilarious and heartbreaking.”

Karl Marlantes

“[T]he Catch-22 of the Iraq War....Fountain applies the heat of his wicked sense of humor while you face the truth of who we have become. Live one day inside Billy Lynn’s head and you’ll never again see our soldiers or America in the same way.”

Malcolm Gladwell

“So much of Fountain’s work...reads with an easy grace.... [S]ometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.”

Read More

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