Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

by Ben Fountain
4.3 85

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Overview

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060885595
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,276,650
Product dimensions: 6.44(w) x 9.06(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ben Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. He has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and a Whiting Writers' Award, among other honors and awards. He and his family live in Dallas.

Hometown:

Dallas, Texas

Place of Birth:

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Education:

B.A. in English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1980; J.D., Duke University School of Law, 1983

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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read fast. Really fast. Very few books slow me down. This book brought me to a standstill--and sent me back to read again. It knit the realities of combat to the realities of American civilian life. And with the same stitches, it bound the absurd fantasies of both experiences. It is no wonder that civilians who experience combat experience nothing the same way ever again. This slice of life was a story intricately spun and made into an uncomfortable but irresistible jacket. Thank you.
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
This book is as good as the best reviews say it is. It's very moving and sad and insightful and revealing. What happens to the young, impressionable men we send to war is something we can't comprehend without the experience ourselves. This story helps reveal a lot about them and also a lot about ourselves and our responses to them. And most of it happens during one professional football game at Cowboys stadium. What a clever way to tell their story. I loved this book.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
Having a somewhat loose connection to the military lifestyle, I felt an instant connection to this book that goes deeper than a cursory glance just across the surface. It made BILLY LYNN’s LONG HALFTIME WALK real to me, yet I did have trouble initially getting into the story, because it’s told as much through flashbacks, bouncing in time from the present to the past, that I struggled initially with the author’s choice of storytelling. But once I caught on, I dove into the water headfirst, and I didn’t bother coming up for air. Sure, there are satirical elements to the story, and it presents a world that’s not all sugarplums and candy canes and apple pies, but it’s the world we currently live in, if not slightly exaggerated. And for me, that was most of the appeal of the novel. I loved the direct line of sight into the eyes of a soldier, a grunt and a squad that was suddenly blown up bigger than an atomic bomb because of the media attention, the Jumbotron, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and the Victory Tour. It’s a study in American excess, and it further cements the great American divide between the haves and the have nots. This novel is at times powerful, heartbreaking, funny, sad, but overall it’s a richly written piece of fiction that made me pause and reflect, if even just for a minute, at the direction our country has taken. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
prenoun More than 1 year ago
Not so much a novel of the Iraq War as a novel of soldiers attempting to understand the country they've enlisted to protect. There are comparisons drawn between Americans' commitment to their pastimes and their disinterest in the world around them, and Fountain's book, while making no real statements about the war, is happy to engage this larger, slower target. Humorous and touchingly written, Fountain' characters are believable and vivid, and surely they're the reason this novel made the Book Award shortlist. It didn't win, but as an effort to map a post-9/11 America, and the war we refused to examine, Bill Lynn wholly succeeds.
SharonfromCO More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing anti-war book that embodies a certain essence of what it means to be an American in the 21st century. It took me a few false starts to get the rhythm of this story of class, race, and gender among many other things. Thought provoking and sadly funny--do not give up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dark satire of war and the selling of war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took awhile to get a feel for storyline, but thank God, I didn't give up. A terrific first novel! Should be in line for the National Book Award!
Lance_Charnes More than 1 year ago
It's 2007 or 2008, and the bloom is well off the Iraq War rose when news footage of a confused squad-level engagement vaults the surviving members of Bravo Squad into national celebrity. The Bush Administration trots them around swing states on a two-week "Victory Tour." The last stop is Dallas and an appearance at the Cowboys' orgiastic Thanksgiving Day game. This is where we meet Bravo, through the confused and overwhelmed eyes of 19-year-old Specialist Billy Lynn. The story of that day and all that led Billy and his Army comrades to it is told not through straightforward narrative but via a tour de force of near-stream-of-consciousness word purge, a swirl of hopes, dreams, fears, bewilderment, anger, disgust, horniness and loneliness. Billy, a native of hardscrabble East Texas, is exactly what you'd expect of a young man in his position: now a teenager, next a prematurely aged man, seeking guidance and strength from anyone who happens to be a few years older or even marginally wiser. He reveres his squad leader, SSGT Dime, while wondering whether the good sergeant really knows what he's doing; he bitterly misses "Shroom," a fellow squaddie and casualty of the firefight, who seemed to have all the answers, even if there weren't questions for them. In between, Billy does the things young men do after learning about mortality: he gets drunk, endures hangovers, sticks like Velcro to the now-men who shared his experience, acts out, and tries to cure a festering case of virginity. Fountain nails Billy's voice. So too does he nail the rest of Bravo, a modern-day grab bag of country and ghetto boys of all colors whose only common trait is that infantry duty in Iraq is better than any options available to them back home. They brag, swear, give each other merciless grief, say inappropriate things about and to women of all ages, fight and get stoned and cry when it all gets too much. I've met these guys; I watched them on their in-theater R&R in Qatar, rescued a few of them from the clutches of the USO, took them to dinner and sightseeing. Fountain got them mostly right, a great trick for someone who wasn't one of them. The plot? It isn't much -- Bravo stumbles from one encounter to another with an America that's become surreal to them. The superabundance of food, of stuff, of money, contrasts glaringly with their Spartan existence downrange. There's also a superabundance of need -- for reassurance (the repeated, childlike pleas: "Are we winning?" "Is it getting better?"), for hope, for validation -- that the people the Bravos meet turn to the soldiers to fill, and which the Bravos (who have their own glaring needs) can't begin to address. They also encounter profound cluelessness about the war among the civilians, the idea that it's a computer game or the action movie that the Bravos' Hollywood agent keeps trying to piece together. "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" might be the first great Iraq War novel. It's a war story in which no shots are fired in anger; indeed, the war is many thousands of miles away in physical space, and on another planet in the mental space of most of the characters who populate this novel. Yet it says so much about the war, the men and women who fought in it, and the country that sent them there. It could in many ways be "The Best Years of Our Lives" for a new generation. If you're a True Believer in the Iraq War, you'll find plenty to hate here, but everyone else ought to get something from this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've heard wisdom is knowing you know nothing. I'm feeling wiser after reading Ben Fountain's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." To read this book is to enter a virtual reality world of a young soldier's experience with the civilian world after the rawest of wartime experiences. It's a surreal place where every sensation and thought is multiplied in intensity and then questioned for validity. I would put this on the "must read" list for: - anyone who has ever said "I know how you feel" - anyone who has counselled someone on enlisting in the military - every high school student - anyone affected by the politics of war - anyone who has been touched by war and terrorism, even if peripherally I'm not saying the book will change views. But I think it will make us more aware of the impact of those views.
bayareagirl More than 1 year ago
Creates the real aggression of war and juxtaposes it with the pretend aggression of football. The Bravo company are heroes, but not in the expected way. Dialogue perfect, humor and heart , all elevate this books to one of the best.  Reminds me of The Things They Carried, and Catch -22 in its exposure of the reality of war. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With malice toward none.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the saddest books to make you laugh, and it also manages to be thought provoking at the same time. This novel earns the right to be compared with a classis novel like "Catch 22".
crazyreaderAP More than 1 year ago
Like being in a pinball machine of sensory elements. Great Book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Some of the descriptive phrases are so powerful that you are transported into the storyline. I will read this book again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not easily characterized. It gives an insight into the thoughts of those service members we consider heroes, as well as those who are left at home. This book should become a statement for our times.
Drewano 10 months ago
‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ is an interesting novel. On one hand it’s thought provoking and a bit of a cautionary tale, but on the other it felt too preachy and I felt as if it didn’t really tell the whole story. The book revolves around, surprise, Bill Lynn a war hero home from Iraq on a good will tour of the US. The story covers the last few days of his tour at his hometown and participation at the Thanksgiving day halftime show at the Cowboys game. We get a brief view of his actions in Iraq and how he ended up in the Army but the really the story is about a 19 year old kid so you get a range of emotions from the character of, surprise, a 19 year old kid. As a result, I felt much of the story was a pretty boring (I mean come on he’s at a fake NFL game how interesting can it be). On the preachy/though provoking side it the author raises some valid questions and really shows what “Patriotic” people can be like when it comes to our men and women in uniform but he seems to paint every person who’s not in Bravo with the same broad stroke. I felt as if every other character pretty much could be interchanged and it wouldn’t have changed the story at all. I guess what the author is trying to say is war is bad and people should give our troops more than lip service both of this are true but the way in which he said it just fell flat for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Poetry in motion. Probably the best story of war I have read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do not typically like war books or anything to do with wars but when I saw the trailer for this movie I knew I would like it. The book is amazing and I can't wait for the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We read this book for our book club. It made for an interesting discussion on the disconnect between the soldiers and the American public
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did you read my bio?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tallpaw Mudpaw Riverpaw Dawnbolt Dustwind!!" She cheered then she touched noses with Tallpaw((sorry if i got the names wrong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WinterSong cheered.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She touched noses with Mudpaw. ((If they don't show up in a few days, hm.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you once again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago