Saturday, August 15, 2015

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

I know it's been a few years since everyone was talking about Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk but I finally got around to reading it this week. It lived up to the hype (which so often doesn't happen that I expect it to not happen). This novel is funny, and sweet, and irreverent, and nasty, and honest, and disturbing, and ultimately hopeful. While Billy Lynn and his Bravo troop are home on leave from a tour in Iraq, they are "treated" to a Dallas Cowboys game that is at once hilarious and pathetic. Fountain uses extremes and uses them well--the poverty Billy comes from, the excess of American football and Americans in general, the equal parts love and hate we have of war and by extension the soldiers who fight in those wars, our mad desire for success at any cost. Our desire to hear that everything, always, is going to be all right. And, to make the novel even more unbelievable, there is a movie executive hanging around the Bravos, promising to tell their story on the big screen. But, as unbelievable and excessive as it all is, it's totally, heartbreakingly believable. 

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