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In the wake of The Yellow Birds , a counter-formation of memoirs and short-stories appeared, stories of war by ex-combat-arms bubbas seemingly delighted to assert that they were hard men capable of doing hard things. Quite a few other writers merit consideration for inclusion on this list.

Khost Province, Afghanistan, Comments: Be the first to comment. Deer asked.

Desert Song: a novel of the lonely struggle of the women of Afghanistan

Why did you begin it? Where did you get ideas for what it could be? Why I started Time Now.


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Because my boss in the Department of English and Philosophy at West Point, where I taught at the time, put me in charge of a program designed to bring veteran artists and writers to West Point and the blog seemed congruent with that. I was honored to have in the audience Teresa Fazio, who held forth with more insight and credibility than I could ever muster about the status of women war-mil-vet authors in the publishing biz, and I was delighted when Matt Gallagher arrived to walk back a little his statement that an online presence was essential for an aspiring writer—his own very solid Twitter-game notwithstanding.

Many thanks to Patrick Deer and all who attended, especially those who chimed in with questions and comments, all of which continue to bubble in my mind and will certainly find expression in Time Now posts to come. Pinch thought that was a great idea, and to further liven up things, he invited Ackerman to Wesleyan to meet his class and participate in a series of related events. Lucky me, Pinch was kind enough to ask his old college basketball-buddy to tag along.

The day was full of excellent things, with Ackerman in fine form at every event. Ackerman apparently is incapable of saying dull things, and he has the added virtue of answering questions in individualized and personalized ways so that their askers feel the full force of his empathy and intellectual curiosity for why they might have posed the question they did. Inspired by his own return to a collegiate setting, Ackerman began riffing on scenes from the classic Rodney Dangerfield film comedy Back to School.

Upon returning home, I spent an evening on YouTube chuckling over Back to School videos, including this great one featuring Sam Kinison that reminds us that Back to School was in fact a post-war film:. And so the work of defining the contours of vet-writing about Iraq and Afghanistan and what it means to live as a veteran afterwards proceeds on many levels and in many places, but with special trenchancy at places like NYU and Wesleyan.

If the link below works, it will take you to a slide show of pictures I took in Afghanistan that offer some sense of the world described by Ackerman in Green on Blue. The Look of War, Afghanistan Comments: 6 Comments. Recent poetry volumes by Hugh Martin, Abby E. Responses were mixed, or not especially helpful, as I recall: more evidence that the word might be both overused and under-interrogated as an all-purpose label for how we conceptualize time spent in uniform, at war, or rubbing up against the strange culture of the military in ways that seem interesting, important, or even transformative.

A few poems are set afterwards, and these more directly address what it means to live-on following service on the ground in combat in Iraq. Martin is not given to over-arching pronouncements or editorializing within the space of his poems, however. Instead, he emphasizes observed detail and understated tactics of suggestion and inference. What I get from his poems, and it may not be at all what Martin intended, is a need to document the idea and fact that he, the poet Hugh Martin, in , is the same young man who went to war in and with a gun strapped to his body did the things war asks soldiers to do—break down doors and shoot people, for starters.

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The dots connecting the two Hugh Martins go mostly implied or unconnected or too-scary to face directly, which is OK by me, since they go largely unresolved in my own mind in regard to my own deployment and life afterwards, too. So, I can relate to the perceived overall sensibility of In Country , just as I can easily relate to the vignettes of actual deployed experience that Martin captures in verse, such as this one:. Many of the poems in Abby E. Those poetic moments ring with whimsical irony, but the best poems in How to Be Married After Iraq do much more than express bemusement and ambivalence.

The social milieu of officer marriages, and, speaking from again personal knowledge, especially that of infantry officer marriages, is strange and cloistered, so much so that I sense it can be off-putting to observers from the outside. The almost perverse blend of intense competitiveness, ambition, physical vitality, and homosociality of the men as they are observed by their wives has been ably recounted by Siobhan Fallon in fiction and Angela Ricketts in non-fiction, and part of their accomplishment lies in noting the tension inspired by their own complicity in the experience.

Fallon, Ricketts, and now Murray have missed nothing, taken great notes, and, when they are so inclined, punch very hard. To sit in a simulated living space at Ikea is to know what sand knows as it rests inside the oyster. This is how you might arrange your life if you were to start from scratch: a newer, better version of yourself applied coat by coat, beginning with lamplight from the simulated living room.

The man who lives here has never killed. There is no American camouflage drying over the backs of his kitchen chairs, no battle studies on the coffee table. He travels without a weapon, hangs photographs of the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower above the sofa. The woman who lives here has no need for prescriptions or self-help, her mirror cabinet holds a pump for lotion and a rose-colored water glass, her nightstand is stacked with hardcovers on Swedish architecture…. Narrative linearity, connective explanations, and summarizing statements are few; instead Stone offers shards, impressions, aggressive line-breaks, non-standard punctuation, abrupt transitions, and oblique references.

Kill Class may not give away its insights cheaply, but readers who invest the time will find much to appreciate about the interpretive experience it summons. Begin Again.

Reverse loop. Enter the stage. The war scenario has: [vegetable stalls], [roaming animals], and [people] in it. The people speak. The games says figure. John Brown spent his formative years in Ohio. Lee idolatry but in marked counterpoint to our current Commander-in-Chief. Both novels feature young Ohio men of no particular means or ambition who join the military, fight overseas, and return or, at least some of them return to Ohio locales defined by few economic prospects and rampant drug use-and-abuse.

The two novels differ in their basic regard for the military, too. In Cherry , the narrator, based on Walker himself, is contemptuous of the Army he joins, finding little value in its ideals, missions, and methods, or in the people with whom he serves. Markley, not a veteran, portrays two characters, one, Rick Brinklan, who joins the Marines and one, Dan Eaton, who joins the Army, differently. Each, within the range of possibilities offered to them and their peers in the fictional small town of New Canaan, embodies honor and good sense, and the military, whatever its shortcomings, is more generative of human commonweal than anything available back home.

Not perfect, mind you—Rick is killed in Iraq and Dan loses an eye in the process of committing a war-crime in Afghanistan—but better by far than the failed state and blighted social microcosm from which the two men use the military to escape. Then two planes hit the World Trade Center towers, one hit the Pentagon, and a final one dug a crater in a Pennsylvania field, and almost that same day, he felt a divergence occur between them. Bill observed the flag-waving, the brainless nationalism, the invocation of military might as a panacea for sorrow, and it felt to him like a bad movie, a gloss of convenient worship for shared bloodletting.

Rick got into it. Really into it…. Every city or town in the state had big gangrenous swaths that looked like New Canaan, the same cancer-patient-looking strip mall geography with brightly lit outposts hawking variations on usurious consumer credit. Helpless in the face of such exploitation, or clueless about its true nature, the dazed denizens of Midwest wastelands lack the wherewithal to save themselves. In the mostly-white New Canaan, old-school black-white tension exists, but in almost diluted, benign form compared to the venomous hatred now directed toward non-Christian immigrants by young white men without education, their sputtering rage and impotence in the face of demographic change and diversity exacerbated by excessive drinking and drug use.

Whether all of this is true or not, or rings true or not, probably depends on where you lie on the Red-Blue spectrum. By-and-large they are described as possessed by their own form of self-hatred, one generated by internalizing the idea that to be out of step with the New Canaan mainstream is an act of self-marginalization born not of superior intelligence but of character perversity equal to or greater than the irrationalism of the xenophobes.

Would he have enough time to stop Al Qaeda in launching their murderous campaign? Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Desert Song , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters.

Sort order. The story compellingly begins on the 10th September , the eve of the al-Qaeda attack in America, as an American expat on a two-year assignment awaits his wife and two-year-old son's arrival in Saudi Arabia. However, as we very quickly learn, "fate had written that this would be his last sleep. Death awaited him this day" And so begins the sordid story of a sinister Al-Qae The story compellingly begins on the 10th September , the eve of the al-Qaeda attack in America, as an American expat on a two-year assignment awaits his wife and two-year-old son's arrival in Saudi Arabia.

He helps Matt find the missing girl but is unable to locate the missing boy. The executioner of Rehana turns out to be Nasser. Matt vows to avenge her death.

Time Now | The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars in Art, Film, and Literature

The Sheikh gives a summary trial and passes a death sentence on Matt. A Russian soldier who had been working with the Taliban soldiers offers Matt a secretive deal: US citizenship for freedom. Matt has already planned bombing of the cave complex to create a diversion for his rescue attempt. Nasser kills his friend Sultan who should be there to send a coded signal to the US base in Peshawar.

Upon discovery of this development Matt makes a deal with the Russian. Matt successfully saves Nathan but the Russian is caught stealing uranium by Nasser and the Sheikh. Unexpectedly the US bombing starts right at the moment when Matt is pretending to surrender to Nasser and Matt makes a split second decision and succeeds in killing Nasser. For political reasons he allows the Sheikh to flee. Matt sends a signal to Andrew in Peshawar to airlift them and it is set for next morning just before dawn.


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  8. All Taliban soldiers and ten children are killed by booby-trapped trucks. Matt bids a final and sad goodbye to Shama and returns to Peshawar with the uranium and the abducted children. This she has now successfully completed. Matt is delighted to see Sophie as a part of the FBI team. Matt requests a week vacation but Andrew declines it explaining that a young girl, daughter of a senior senator, has been brutally murdered in Kenya and an important clue has emerged from a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay and asks Matt to make himself available in the next forty-eight hours.