A deadly firefight between U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents is caught on video by a Fox News crew and before the eight surviving members of Bravo Company can get back to their barracks, the video has gone viral on the Internet. Suddenly, the soldiers are being hailed as American heroes in order to keep the positive spin going for the U.S. presence in Iraq. Billy Lynn and his fellow Marines are brought back to the United States for a “media intensive nationwide Victory Tour,” to be capped off by an appearance during halftime at a Dallas Cowboys football game before they’re shipped back to the desert fields of fire.
That’s the dramatic premise behind National Book Award-nominated Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by acclaimed author Ben Fountain, in his long-form literary debut.
In a span of a few hours, Billy endures the meaningless
clichés hurled at him by drunken football fans, egotistical professional
team owners, their trophy wives and other hangers-on. When he
experiences an epiphany in the form of a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, he
spies a chance to change the direction of his very existence. His ultimate choice will both alter his future and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. Grade: A