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Redeployment
Cover of Redeployment
Redeployment
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Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven...
Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven...
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  • Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.
    In "Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened. A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming.
    Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation.
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Phil Klay is a Dartmouth grad and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. He served in Iraq during the Surge and subsequently received an MFA from Hunter College, where he studied with Colum McCann and Peter Carey, and worked as Richard Ford's research assistant. His first published story, "Redeployment", appeared in Granta's Summer 2011 issue. That story led to the sale of his forthcoming collection, which will be published in seven countries. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Tin House, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 6, 2014
    Klay’s title story, a moving homage to soldiers of war who must return home to attempt a normal life, made a splash when it was first published in Granta. This debut collection of a dozen stories resonates with themes of battle and images of residual battlefield pain and psychological trauma. This is especially evident in heart-wrenching stories like “Bodies,” in which a soldier buffers his grisly war stories in order not to have to truly share the horror of his tour in Iraq. Alternately, some stories are lighter and offer glimmers of humanity against Klay’s bleak landscape of combat, as in “Money as a Weapons System,” which finds a Foreign Service Officer charged with improving the civil affairs of Iraqi citizens by offering them baseball lessons. Klay grasps both tough-guy characterization and life spent in the field, yet he also mines the struggle of soldiers to be emotionally freed from the images they can’t stop seeing. Written in clipped sentences capturing the brutality of conflict, the specter of death permeates each story, from the corpse-eating dogs in the title story to Sergeant Deetz in “Ten Kliks South,” who snickers at his troop’s body count of insurgents. It’s clear that Klay, himself a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Iraq, has parlayed his insider’s knowledge of soldier-bonding and emotional scarring into a collection that proves a powerful statement on the nature of war, violence, and the nuances of human nature.

  • AudioFile Magazine Craig Klein perfectly narrates these stories of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hitting their exact tone and pacing. The soldier's life in a combat zone is one of boredom, military bureaucracy, violence, fear, exhilaration, and a host of other emotions. Klay, who as an adjutant in the Marines, had the perfect vantage point to see all sides of the warrior's life, splendidly captures the experience of war. Klein's voice is well matched to the text of each story--each told in the first person by a different observer. From the soldier returning home to the contractor with the ridiculous scheme to meet an equally ridiculous State Department goal and the chaplain who endures a crisis of faith, Klein reads each story as though he were the observer himself. M.T.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
  • Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Book Review:
    "[Klay captures] on an intimate scale the ways in which the war in Iraq evoked a unique array of emotion, predicament and heartbreak. In Klay's hands, Iraq comes across not merely as a...
    Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Book Review:
    "[Klay captures] on an intimate scale the ways in which the war in Iraq evoked a unique array of emotion, predicament and heartbreak. In Klay's hands, Iraq comes across not merely as a theater of war but as a laboratory of the human condition in extremis. Redeployment is hilarious, biting, whipsawing and sad. It's the best thing written so far on what the war did to people's souls."

    Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times:
    "In Redeployment, his searing debut collection of short stories, Phil Klay—a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, who served in Iraq during the surge—gives the civilian reader a visceral feeling for what it is like to be a soldier in a combat zone, and what it is like to return home, still reeling from the dislocations of war. Gritty, unsparing and fiercely observed, these stories leave us with a harrowing sense of the war in Iraq as it was experienced, day by day, by individual soldiers."

    George Packer, The New Yorker:
    "The best literary work thus far written by a veteran of America's recent wars.... Klay's fiction peels back every pretty falsehood and self-delusion in the encounter between veterans and the people for whom they supposedly fought."

    Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine:
    "An excellent, upsetting debut collection of short stories. Klay's own view is everywhere, existential and practical, at home and abroad, distributed with wonderful clarity of voice and harrowing specificity of experience among Army chaplains, enlisted men, Foreign Service officers, members of Mortuary Affair, and more."

    The Wall Street Journal:
    "The influences behind Mr. Klay's writing go far beyond Iraq. At times Redeployment recapitulates the remarkably tender, self-conscious style that Tim O'Brien forged from his experiences in Vietnam...Mr. Klay is able to surprise and provoke....Mr. Klay gives a deeply disquieting view of a generation of soldiers reared on war's most terrible contradictions."

    Entertainment Weekly:
    "Klay—a Marine who served during the surge—has an eye and an ear for a single searing line of dialogue or a scene of maddening dissonance that can pierce your soul....Klay brilliantly manages to wring some sense out of the nonsensical—resulting in an extraordinary, if unnerving, literary feat."

    San Francisco Chronicle:
    "Klay's closely observed debut collection of stories...makes a fine contribution....Klay establishes an impressive authority over his subject, which he maintains throughout the book in a clipped and jargon-laden prose."

    Portland Oregonian:
    "One of the best debuts of the year."

    Men's Journal:
    "In a book that's drawing comparisons to classic war literature like Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, Klay examines the deep conflict, in all of us, between wanting to tell our stories and wanting to protect them from being diminished or misunderstood."

    The Daily Beast:
    "Phil Klay has written brilliant, true, and winning fiction on the Iraq War."

    Grantland:
    "Perhaps the most vital short story collection to emerge in the past few years....Redeployment falls somewhere between the in-the-trenches lyricism of Kevin Powers's The Yellow Birds and the bold satire of Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. And yet, it feels more urgent than both.... Redeployment is urgent, smart, and darkly comic."

    Publishers Weekly (starred):
    "Klay grasps both tough-guy...

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