Metal Heads (Hardcover)
Kunati Inc., 9781601641700, 256pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
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In a military hospital for wounded veterans of the Iraq war, ex-Marine Jeremy Witherspoon, called Spoon by his comrades, is trying to come to terms with his life-changing injuries. The hospital specializes in treating "metal heads," those with severe head trauma whose injuries require the insertion of a metal plate. Spoon passes the long hours in bed trading war stories with his fellow patients and recounts his complicity as a witness to a brutal crime of war in Ramadi, and his coercion in a cover-up when threatened by a private contractor who goes by the nickname Skank. When the wounded Skank appears at the hospital, he bluntly threatens Spoon to keep his mouth shut about Ramadi. One by one, Spoon's friends on the ward begin dying in mysterious ways, and he knows he must defeat Skank or die himself. This powerful, heartbreaking novel about the aftermath of war creates a vivid world populated by odd characters who struggle with being outcasts and victims. The young narrator mingles his quirky slang about the war with eloquent and often lyrical emotion.
Praise For Metal Heads…
"This is a heartbreaking, well-paced story of an injured Iraqi veteran and the terrors of war . . . Told in the vernacular of the narrator, complete with misspelling and lingo of street youth, the narrative tells the story of all those touched by the war . . . This moving, in your face work packs an emotional punch." —Publishers Weekly
"The heart of this dark, Kafkaesque tale lies in uncertainty. TBI, like war, wreaks havoc on the brain, and Maremaa's characters may all be delusional. Or not. A powerful and heartbreaking novel." —Booklist, starred review