Redeployment by Phil Klay was last year’s National Book Award winner, and a contender in a match next week at The Morning News Tournament of Books–it goes up against Silence Once Begun on 3/17/15, and since I am apparently the only person who liked that book, I expect Redeployment to take the match handily.

I picked up Redepoyment after I stopped in the middle of All the Light We Cannot See. After I read several disappointing books in a row, especially ones that are gushed over elsewhere, I often doubt my book compass and if I will ever love again. I immediately engaged with Redeployment and its writing, so it was good to be back in a loving mood again. The emotion, dark humor, punch-y prose and immediacy of it all were such welcome contrasts to what didn’t work for me with All the Light We Cannot See that I felt like hugging Redeployment, which is odd since it’s hardly a warm, fuzzy book.

We shot dogs. Not by accident. We did it on purpose, and we called it Operation Scooby. I’m a dog person, so I thought about that a lot.

Instead, it’s a series of stories told by various narrators in Iraq. Some are stateside, some are in Iraq, some are soldiers, many are not. The multiplicity of views of war were one of my favorite things about the book.

For me, though, the momentum ran out at about 2/3 through the book during one of the longest stories, “Psychological Operations.” I can’t tell if it’s a criticism of the book, or simply my reading experience but by this point, the drama and immediacy of war had worn off, and I just wanted it to be over, yet I was in the midst of a long story, with 3 more shortish ones to go. At 288 pages, this is not a long book, but by the end it felt like it. I feel like an immature reader, one who whines that “it was too long.” Perhaps that’s one of the powers of the book, that it immerses you so much in the cloud of war that I was nauseated and exhausted and crabby by the end, which was the tip of the negative iceberg for most characters in the book.

4 Responses to “REDEPLOYMENT by Phil Klay”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    You are not going to believe this, but I gave up on Redeployment 2/3 of the way through. I’d been liking it and suddenly I was bored. I am, however, loving Dept. of Speculation. Copying down phrases.

  2. carolyn Says:

    A LOT of the reviews I’ve read say the same thing–that it just runs out of gas at a certain point.

    I liked Silence Once Begun! Not liked as in it become a favorite book but I did like it. :)

  3. girldetective Says:

    Jen, we are each other’s reading doppelganger! Glad to know from both you and Carolyn that it wasn’t just me on Redeployment at the 2/3 mark.

  4. girldetective Says:

    Oh, yay, another fan of Silence Once Begun!