Listen to voices. Twelve voices. Twelve stories by twelve voices. Narrated by twelve men. Twelve Americans. Twelve men who have been there. Twelve men who have been out at the warfront.
“Redeployment” by Phil Klay is a collection of first-person narratives by American men who have been at the war front in Iraq. Each of these stories is a vignette that tells us about an experience. We have read third person narratives of how war affects the victims. Do we know how it affects the perpetrators? What does it feel to kill a child? How do they deal with the trauma, the guilt, the agony and the fear? What does it feel to return from war? Can one lead a normal life? An inside look at all these and more is what you get out of this 2014 release by Phil Klay, a war veteran himself.
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- A different genre. I don’t remember reading any full-length narratives of war experiences. Though an occasional character like Michael Holtzapfel of The Book Thief sheds some light on their lives.
- Some haunting moments. Like this one.
When we raised the alarm, he disappeared. We freaked, scanning everywhere, until Curtis looked down in this water cistern that’d been used as a cesspit, basically a big round container filled a quarter way with liquid shit.
The insurgent was floating in it, hiding beneath the liquid and only coming up for air…
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- The profanity in the book is just too much for me. I understand that it is normal for American soldiers to use this kind of language, but it was difficult to read through. I have a good mind to do a frequency check of expletives and compare it against other books.
- In addition to the profanity and the American slang, the war jargon renders certain narratives almost incomprehensible. It might be useful to have a கோனார் உரை (a commentary) for this book. Just sample this opening paragraph of one of the stories.
EOD handled the bombs. SSTP treated the wounds. PRP processed the bodies. The 08s fired DPICM. The MAW provided CAS. The 03s patrolled the MSRs. Me and PFC handled the money.
Read if you like war stories.