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Cover for Something about a Soldier

Something about a Soldier

Mark Harris


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Something about a Soldier is considered by some critics to be Mark Harris's finest novel. The wacky characters and situations are clothed in a trenchant language that says everything Harris wants to say while retaining the purity and simplicity of a fable. The hero is Private Jacob Epp (changed from Epstein), seventeen, from Perkinsville, New York. In 1944 he enters the army and arrives for basic training in Georgia with his Soldier's Handbook and a virginal social conscience. Exposed to racial discrimination and poverty, he becomes a social activist, even flirts briefly with communism. He meets Jolene, a countergirl in the PX, who urges him to embrace her, a warmer object for his love than any abstraction. How Private Epp is saved from death for love is a nutty, ingenious story that the reader won't be able to resist.

Praise For Something about a Soldier

"An enjoyable performance, full of humor, sympathy and a relish of language."—Commonweal

"The intriguing combination of sophistication and naiveté, of humor and incipient tragedy, will interest those readers who prefer strong character delineation to complicated plots."—Library Journal

"This is a beguiling work of art. In it, Harris proves again he is one of the most imaginative and talented young novelists in America."—San Francisco Chronicle

Unp - Bison Books, 9780803272262, 175pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 1985

About the Author

Jacob's creator is also known for "The Southpaw," "Bang the Drum Slowly," and "A Ticket for a Seamstitch."