Amy Rutten's Reviews > Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
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Jul 16, 12

A Mandatory Read for All
If there is one book you read this year, let it be this one. Ben Fountain has written a novel that spans only a few hours in the life of Specialist Billy Lynn but tackles no less than the entire American way of life as its subject matter. After a close encounter with death in Iraq (only briefly referred to in the story) Billy Lynn and Bravo Squad return to the USA for a whirlwind tour as America’s Heroes. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk tells of Bravo Squad’s appearance during the halftime show of a Dallas Cowboys football game. Ben Fountain is not trying to create an epic novel about war, or heroes. This is not a book full of pride or a thrilling tale of bravery. This book lays out all of the sickening, dumb greediness of the rich (pro football, Hollywood, politics) and sets it down with a noisy plop right next to the scared, true, vulnerable heart of the nineteen year old boy-next-door. The one who stood in line in front of you at the video store last week, or maybe bagged your groceries yesterday. Fountain creates a world, if only for a few hours, where these two worlds intersect, and illuminates the dark, oily gap between them. This is why we write and read fiction: to illuminate the truth. Read this book. You won’t regret it.
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