Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

By Ben Fountain
(Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780060885595, 307pp.)

Publication Date: May 2012

List Price: $25.99*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the May 2012 Indie Next List
“Fountain has created a sort of inverted Odyssey in which our hero, Billy Lynn, comes home from the Iraq war to find a whole new catalog of trials and challenges awaiting him and the rest of Bravo Company before they are shipped back to the Gulf. Taking place on a single day, at a Thanksgiving football game in Dallas, the novel not only gives us a fresh take on how we view capitalism, materialism, ourselves, our country, and our military, but also provides a wonderfully empathetic tragic-hero in Billy Lynn, at once a brave and fearless fighting machine while still a very innocent and confused young man.”
-- Robert Sindelar, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA


Description

A finalist for the National Book Award!

A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal"—three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew—has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America's most sought-after heroes. For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide Victory Tour to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys, slated to be part of the halftime show alongside the superstar pop group Destiny's Child.

Among the Bravos is the Silver Star–winning hero of Al-Ansakar Canal, Specialist William Lynn, a nineteen-year-old Texas native. Amid clamoring patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and Support Our Troops bumper stickers on their cars, the Bravos are thrust into the company of the Cowboys' hard-nosed businessman/owner and his coterie of wealthy colleagues; a luscious born-again Cowboys cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized pro players eager for a vicarious taste of war. Among these faces Billy sees those of his family—his worried sisters and broken father—and Shroom, the philosophical sergeant who opened Billy's mind and died in his arms at Al-Ansakar.

Over the course of this day, Billy will begin to understand difficult truths about himself, his country, his struggling family, and his brothers-in-arms—soldiers both dead and alive. In the final few hours before returning to Iraq, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision, and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years.

Poignant, riotously funny, and exquisitely heartbreaking, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is a devastating portrait of our time, a searing and powerful novel that cements Ben Fountain's reputation as one of the finest writers of his generation.




About the Author
Ben Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. He has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and a Whiting Writers' Award, among other honors and awards. He and his family live in Dallas.
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