Lindsey, himself a combat veteran, pays attention to the details in the 15 sharp stories of this debut…We get the feeling these people are beside us at stop lights, their entire lives sitting in the cabs of pickup trucks, heading out one more time toward the highway with nowhere better to go. The book captures our culture now, its pop references flaring, familiar and embarrassing: a counterpunch to every ad you watch.
The New York Times Book Review - Benjamin Busch
Fans of Phil Klay’s Redeployment and Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds will enjoy this lyrical debut collection about soldiers returning home to the South from various conflicts. Through 15 thematically linked short stories, veteran and Southerner Lindsey gives the kind of poetic voice to redeployed contemporary veterans, their loved ones, and the rural atmosphere around them that can only be achieved through firsthand experience. In “Evie M.” (multiple stories in this collection are named after their protagonist), the protagonist diligently follows instructions at her cubicle job, while her home life is obsessively dictated by penning suicide notes and the timing of television shows. In “Darla,” the protagonist’s city life is upended when she’s infected with an autoimmune-deficiency virus from a soldier on furlough; she then returns to her rural home and learns to maintain a relationship within the confines of her affliction. In “Wall,” a man builds a relationship with a stranger through his apartment wall—one he’s too damaged to act on. In “Colleen,” the protagonist realizes she’s not over sexual abuse from a fellow soldier when she finally confronts him in a bar. Lindsey brings an essential new voice to the traumas of war’s lasting aftermath. Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency. (July)
Brutal, precise, like a bullet to the heart, Lindsey's prose is exactly right for conveying what war does to the human soul. Whether comic or tragic, the characters in these stories feel so vibratingly alive they seem to be whispering directly into your ear.
The writing here is nuanced, correct, and felt enough that, for once, ‘Support Our Troops’ is not political pablum. One might say that in Odie Lindsey's care ‘Support Our Troops’ is a literary imperative.
Here's an exciting, even thrilling new voice I'm delighted to read, to hear in my head. He's got all the notes, he's all in. Odie Lindsey's a terrific writerpitch-perfect, entirely under control at high speedwho doesn't hold anything back.
Memorable, even haunting tales of war and peace—two states of being that, in debut author Lindsey's hands, are hard to tell apart. "The bars having closed at midnight, we turn to guns." So opens the title story, which, like the other pieces here, is largely set in the South, but a South not of stately magnolias and antebellum mansions but of dilapidated row houses ready to crumble into overflowing rivers, of chemically altered men and women nursing wounds physical and mental, of days spent with beer cans under ceiling fans before reruns on old televisions that would be better taken outside and shot. Those men and women have been to far-off deserts to fight, and they have seen horrible things and then come home to horrible situations. In the opening story, a woman whose just-barely-running car is making noises "like the collision of track gears on an M113A3 personnel carrier" endures an abusive boss, a dead-end job, and memories of a playful dog shot dead by the guys in the motor pool; so awful is her daily existence that she carefully plans a suicide that she can't carry out because she is so constantly harried. In such a scenario, annual evaluations are as lethal to the spirit as IEDs are to the body. Civilians, too, are generally useless, like the gangbangers in one pensive story who fire off a few rounds, prompting a vet to protest, "You do NOT engage combat outside of an official combat zone." But here the combat zone has extended to cover parking lots, bowling alleys, offices, everywhere, as inexorable as kudzu. Revisiting and building on themes from one story to the next, Lindsey writes with quiet confidence and sometimes arch humor that invites comparison to Ben Fountain and Phil Klay but that wouldn't displease Flannery O'Connor. Superb atmospherics and dramatic timing coupled with arresting storylines. A promising start, if sobering for readers unused to the grim realities of war.
Lindsey’s debut artfully portrays the American South....Lindsey’s lyrical, frenetic prose calls to mind Barry Hannah; and, like Hannah, he imparts a grim and pitying hope to his characters.
Booklist (starred review)
This is almost a novel in stories, thematically linked like Phil Klay’s Redeployment, but more particular in its examination of the new American veteran.”
New York Times Book Review
The debut we hope for: heart-quickening,
kinetic, relentless in its engagement with our time.
With a searing insightfulness and a dark humor all his own, Odie Lindsey holds up a powerful lens to an experience of modern American warfare that has been largely ignored in fictionthat of female veterans. This is collection about how the battles we wage with the external world are really only half the fight.
I read Odie Lindsey’s We Come to Our Senses in a way that books rarely compel me to…Not only compulsively readable, the thoughts these war stories stirred were rich and complex and heartening in their universal humanity. This is a remarkable collection by a splendid new writer.”
[A] gritty and ambitious debut collection…Odie Lindsey is an innovative and consummate prose stylist.