Vaseem Khan

What am I currently reading …

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novel is a war satire seeking to use comedy to say something profound about America’s involvement in the Iraq war. It is billed as the Catch-22 of that war, but it is certainly not that. Catch-22 was groundbreaking, one of the best novels of the century, a book whose images and raucous language stay with you. This is a good book, and well written, but not in the same league. The story follows a unit of American soldiers – including Billy Lynn – who are being feted at an American football game in Texas. The author creates an amusing cast of caricatures, and takes the time to explore the unit’s experiences in Iraq, and the attitudes of American civilians to the conflict. Billy is a sympathetic enough central character, and there is plenty of satirical humour. I found it an engaging read, with some neat prose. A solid debut.

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