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Betsy Recommends

  • $27.00
    ISBN-13: 9781620407547
    Availability: On Our Shelves Now
    Published: Bloomsbury USA, 8/2014
    A green lieutenant, the Marines under his command, and the “terp” who translates for them form a kind of family—with all the love and pain that implies—in this deeply personal novel of the Iraq war. Pitre weaves together past and present, using post-war scenes of dislocation and grief to recall scenes of war, the grit of it, the violence, the danger, but also the camaraderie, the trust, the pride in one another’s skill. The squad is tasked with road maintenance—and although fixing potholes may seem like an innocuous pastime, the potholes in question are used to bury and disguise bombs. A bomb in every pothole, high alert the name of the game, fives and twenty-fives the series of meticulous steps the Marines must take to identify threats: the reality of modern warfare. As harrowing as this may sound, it is no more so than the characters’ attempts to return to civilian life. Writing with caustic wit but also a delicate compassion, Pitre lays down the scenes involving these characters like cards dealt from a Tarot deck, each wartime face forecasting the shape of that same face in the future. 

    Face by face, scene by scene, character by character—American and Iraqi alike—they wound their way into my heart; taken together, the chorus of their voices left me stunned.

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