From Fobbit author David Abrams, Brave Deeds is a compelling novel of war, brotherhood, and America. Spanning eight hours, the novel follows a squad of six AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their leader, Staff Sergeant Rafe Morgan. As the men make their way to the funeral, they recall the most ancient of warriors yet are a microcosm of twenty-first-century America, and subject to the same human flaws as all of us. Drew is reliable in the field but unfaithful at home; Cheever, overweight and whining, is a friend to no oneleast of all himself; and platoon commander Dmitri “Arrow” Arogapoulos is stalwart, yet troubled with questions about his own identity and sexuality. Emotionally resonant, true-to-life, and thoughtfully written, Brave Deeds is a gripping story of combat and of perserverance, and an important addition to the oeuvre of contemporary war fiction.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Educated at Juilliard, Paul Costanzo brings the sensitivity and nuance of a classical music background to his twenty-five-plus years of voice acting, and AudioFile magazine has called his narration "superb."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“After I first read FOBBIT years ago, I’ve been anxiously waiting for David Abrams to follow it up with something equally spectacular. With his second novel, BRAVE DEEDS, Abrams does not disappoint. In fact, in my opinion, BRAVE DEEDS not only captures the same unique magic of his first effort, but also delights in entirely new ways. It’s still bitingly funny and visceral, but also showcases a stunning depth of character and compassion. I have no personal experience with war and soldiering (and much thanks goes to the brave folks like Abrams himself who have defended our country), but BRAVE DEEDS gives average citizens like myself a wonderfully humanizing look at a generation of heroes we may not always fully understand. Throughout my reading of BRAVE DEEDS, I was often reminded that these characters who make us laugh, cry, and ponder some of the biggest questions in life are always out there, suffering through some of the same things that we all suffer through, only they do so in a world of constant threat and danger (and, to the delight of the reader, some scenes of hilarious absurdity). Abrams took me on a daylong journey alongside a cast of madcap characters that I will not soon forget. The visual imagery in his prose is both sublime and meticulously constructed. The emotional climax of the novel reminds us that the humor, violence, and camaraderie we find in our everyday lives will eventually lead to some conclusion, and all that we experienced on the way to that end can help shape us as a better society of caring individuals. I can't recommend this book enough!”
"We double-time across Baghdad on our twelve feet, a mutant dozen-legged beetle dashing from rock to rock, confident in its shell but always careful of the soft belly underneath." One of the bravest of the brave deeds in "Brave Deeds" may be the daring decision to narrate the book in the first person plural. Six American soldiers have slipped off their base to make an unauthorized appearance at the memorial service of one of their number. But when their vehicle breaks down in the middle of Baghdad, they find themselves on a wild adventure of life, death, and most things in between. The use of the "we" form for the narration could have been profoundly irritating, but Abrams makes it work. Each of the six soldiers is in fact a unique individual, and gets at least one chapter of his own in which is his story is told, but from the perspective of the omniscient "we." The effect is somewhat reminiscent of the omniscient narrative style of many 18th and 19th century novels, in which the narrator and the reader are joined in watching the characters from the outside, but it also sets up the characters as a single group, united against the outside world even as they fight amongst themselves. Although I can't see this succeeding in every book, for this particular story it is both attention-grabbing and effective. It also highlights one of the features I've noticed in contemporary war writing: the uneasy push-pull between trying to reach out to others in order to create an emotional connection with them, and the desire to assert the narrator as the possessor of a particular kind of knowledge and pain that only others who have been through what he's been through (funnily enough it's almost alway a he) can understand. Only, as "Brave Deeds" shows, even soldiers experiencing the exact same conditions are all having different experiences, and the "we" of the us-against-them group is still made up of an only semi-coherent group of individuals. Readers looking for an exciting war story should not, however, be turned off by these musings: "Brave Deeds" is full of the kind of action you'd expect from an American war novel, full of the lingo, the mistakes, the strangers-in-a-hot country, and, of course, the thoughts of porn. Honestly, what is it with American war stories and porn? If the books are to be believed, it's a wonder the US military manages to function at all, as you'd think its members would be unable to fire their weapons, their wrists long since seized up from excessive self-gratification. It's so bad sometimes I have to go read a story of torture in Chechnya just to act as a palate cleanser. Anyway, that was more of a side note about American war writing in general rather than a criticism of this book, which by American standards has relatively little porn. What it does have is a cleverly constructed plot that ratchets up the tension until the death-and-life denouement. Definitely a must-read for those interested in contemporary American war literature.