I am reading this for the Between the Lines book group. If it was not for that, then I would not have finished it.
This novels tell of a few days in the life of an army squad back on a victory tour from their stint in Iraq. They did something terribly exciting and courageous that was all over Fox News and now they are back to enjoy/endure the general public’s attentions and gratitude, and discuss a movie deal. After the intense experience of war, a tour around the US, climaxing with a Thanksgiving football game, seems incredibly dull.
There is a very bold statement on the front cover of my copy; that it is “the Catch-22 of the Iraq War.” Catch-22 is smartly observed, very funny and beautifully done. This is 307 pages of boredom and drudgery. Our Protagonist’s sister tries to persuade him to not go back to Iraq, where she tells him he is too sane for war, which is presumably where the Catch-22 reference comes from.
I see what Fountain is doing – the tour is supposed to be some sort of reward for their heroism, but it is just tedious. But the novel took up quite a few hours of my life with it’s own tediousness to make that point.