Thursday, September 03, 2015

What We're Reading: Iraq War Stories

Redeployment is a collection of short stories by writer and Iraq War veteran Phil Klay. The book received the National Book Award in 2014. In the vein of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, which was based on his experiences in Vietnam, Phil Klay uses his considerable writing talent and personal experiences to craft this collection of short stories about the experiences of soldiers and veterans of the Iraq War. The stories are as varied as the experiences of those who served in the war.

The haunting title story starts with a Marine's recollection of shooting dogs in so-called Operation Scooby, and going home to his wife to find that his dog is too old and unwell, and needs to be put down. As he is yanked from the horrors of combat and thrown into the world of the mundane, he struggles with a feeling of disengagement from normal life. In one of the best stories of the collection, "Prayer in the Furnace," a chaplain in the Marines struggles to reach out to the Marine who has been feeling rage and depression at losing his best friend, and realizes that the company's captain's aggressive tactics was a source of high casualties in the company.

Redeployment is an important book by a talented author who gives us a multifaceted and honest look at war and those it impacts.

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