TOB Pre-Game Play-In

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkThis is going to be a quick one because Billy Lynn is the only one of the three books that we read. And it won! This is a two part win: it brings my books-read count up to nine and also I really liked Billy Lynn. It won me over mostly with its tone but also with its bittersweet humour. I was pleased that Judge Bradley found Fountain’s “depictions of soldier circumstances and interactions are spot-on” because the dialogue rang true for me as well (not from my war time experience but from my being a young person experience). I also really liked the conceit of it being set in a single afternoon. It worked in highlighting both the pleasures and comparative absurdity of civilian life and the immediacy of being sent back. Billy Lynn has flaws too but I’m sure we’ll be discussing them when it goes up against May We Be Forgiven. Steven?

Yeah I have no problems with B Lynn winning, it was a fairly good book! I read neither Yellow Birds nor Fobbit (though I have had the former sitting around for ages for when I can be bothered reading a depressing ass war thing). I picked Yellow Birds to win because Bram ‘RETRACTED’ Presser called it his second favourite book of the year, but that’s what I get for trusting a modern day Gilles de Rais. (edit: for backstory read here.) Still, saves me the trouble of reading it not at my leisure. And Billy Lynn was a pretty good book! I didn’t love B Lynn: while I enjoyed the setting and time in which the book took place I was expecting something more, I dunno, groundbreaking is too much to say but I did feel, especially earlier on in the book, that it was all stuff I’ve heard before. But it was stuff I’ve heard done well, and even though Colin Firth lied to me about the book (edit: Colin Firth blurbed the Australian trade paperback of Billy Lynn for some reason) I’m not sure that I trust Damian Lewis’s call on Yellow Birds all that much more. I guess the real lesson is that I can’t trust celebrities any more  And if that’s the case, who can I trust? Which is I guess the real lesson of the Iraq war. Fin.

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8 thoughts on “TOB Pre-Game Play-In

  1. I enjoyed both but Yellow Birds was far more powerful than Billy Lynn (though, to be fair, that’s like comparing Kurt Vonnegut with Erich Maria Remarque). The Guardian and Hemingway/PEN agreed with me, though the National Book Award thought we were both wrong. As for sex pest, given that comes up on google when you type my name, and given that I moonlight as a criminal lawyer and don’t greatly appreciate it coming up when someone tries to find me, can we please come up with a funnier/less professionally damaging insult? The alternative will be me coming in to the store and rattling off the endings to every book you so much as glance at!

  2. Thanks. And I won’t mention that time you were busted selling crack to little children IN YOUR BOOKSTORE to fund the whole animal porn addiction.

  3. Pingback: TOB with bonus commentator | 1001 Books I Must Read Before I Die, Apparently

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