“Brave Deeds” by David Abrams

Brave Deeds David Abrams “We double-time across Baghdad on our twelve feet, a mutant dozen-legged beetle dashing from rock to rock, confident in its shell but always careful of the soft belly underneath.” One of the bravest of the brave deeds in “Brave Deeds” may be the daring decision to narrate the book in the […]

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My Chat with Veteran and Author Brian Van Reet About Literary Creation and Military Service, Part II

Recently author Brian Van Reet and I had a long chat about art, war, life–pretty much everything.  In Part I of our conversation we discussed, among other things, the process of literary creation, the military-civilian divide, and feasibility of reinstating the draft.  The continuation of our conversation is below. EPC: I think it can be hard […]

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My Chat with Veteran and Author Brian Van Reet About Literary Creation and Military Service

As I work on my research about, and prepare for my class on, contemporary war writing, a number of authors and translators have graciously agreed to talk to me.  A couple of weeks ago I posted my chat with British veteran and author Andy Owen; this time it’s American Brian Van Reet, author of Spoils, […]

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My Chat with Veteran and Author Andy Owen about War, Literature, and PTSD, Part II

The New Literary War Hero of Chechnya, Iraq, and Afghanistan Image from “Ninth Company,” dir. Fyodor Bondarchuk When I began reading and writing about contemporary Russian war prose, especially connected to the Chechen wars, I thought that the Russian/Chechen experience, and the literature coming out of it, was unique.  And of course the Chechen wars […]

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“East of Coker” by Andy Owen

East of Coker Andy Owen In “East of Coker,” the lives of two different generations intertwine: Arthur, a veteran of WWII, befriends a soldier returned from Iraq who is at the same rehab center. Both men are separated from the women they love, and alienated from society around them, Arthur by his age and the […]

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“Crossings” by Jon Kerstetter

Crossings Jon Kerstetter “Crossings” is subtitled “A Doctor-Soldier’s Story,” but there’s much more to it than that. It chronicles Jon Kerstetter’s service as a flight surgeon in Iraq, but it also tells the story of his whole life, in which his tours in Iraq are just a small part. The son of a single mother […]

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