As someone who doesn’t know that much about the military beyond what I’ve gleaned from novels, film & television, I was really interested in the details, often tedious, about Loyette’s deployment and how futile it seemed. It felt very new in the genre of military writing. How did this novel meet or challenge your expectations of the “war novel?”
The tedious grind of military work was my favorite aspect of this novel. I cringe when I read/see military fiction where they see tons of action all of the time and get to be heroes and so on. I understand the need for action and emotion to progress a plot, but I think military fiction in the US often doubles as a recruiting device.
The meager showers and bad haircuts and daily bullshit meetings that Loyette deals with really helped to drive home the anxiety deployed people must feel. I also liked how he pointed out how detached they were, emotionally, from the people and animals who actually lived in the area. It made me want to find more military fiction that uses similar viewpoints.
Is there a link for the conversation w the author?
As a Marine that served in Iraq, I found the details about the day-to-day activities very realistic. I especially found the relationships between the different Marine Corps Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and how there is an unspoken hierarchy spot on. Also, you can definitely tell the author is writing from actual combat experience.
This novel both met and exceeded my expectations of a war novel. Just brilliant. Not only the details of the soul-smothering tedium. but its effect on the hearts and minds of the marines.
I, too, don't know much about the inner workings of wars beyond what's in books, news, etc.... So since I love to learn something I didn't know before from reading fiction/NF, I embraced the grind of the military aspect of the book.
It reminded me of Catch-22 without as many obvious comedic elements.
There is a lot of what we call "hurry up and wait" in the military. A lot of grind. Not sure what actual combat is like but have heard the same.
This reminded me of a horror fiction version of Jarhead, which also talked about the tedious nature of war.