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Redeployment

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  18,117 Ratings  ·  2,536 Reviews
Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.  Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

In Redeployment, a soldier
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Penguin Press (first published 2014)
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Brian Rosenblat I think Klay's goal is to give the reader a broad look at the psychological challenges of the war. To paint a sweeping picture of what the war was…moreI think Klay's goal is to give the reader a broad look at the psychological challenges of the war. To paint a sweeping picture of what the war was like, it's helpful to introduce the reader to a varied characters in different, but related, situations. Diving into the psyche of each of the marine protagonists illuminates a different aspect of the conflict and the mental hurdles associated with it. Following one long story arc might have allowed us to go into deeper detail about one or several experiences. But by carving this out as short stories, it allows Klay to paint a broader picture for us. And I think it makes it all the more powerful.(less)
Jason Sure, it's comparable. I don't think it holds together as well as O'Brien's book because the individual stories here are pretty uneven. The great…moreSure, it's comparable. I don't think it holds together as well as O'Brien's book because the individual stories here are pretty uneven. The great stories though--"Prayer in the Furnace" in particular--certainly rise to O'Brien's level while others are less successful.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Greg
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Maybe everything is just fucked. I blast off a review pointing out how bad a shitty poetry is and it is one of my most popular reviews. Thank you all for the votes but I wish more of my thank-yous got seen by as many people as that particular fuck you.

There is certainly no fuck you here, this collection of stories about Marines is awesome. It's the kind of book that reminds me why I spend so much time reading, it makes all the sometimes dry spells of mediocre and mildly forgettable books all wor
...more
Roxane
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it
The writing here is excellent and this offers a necessary look at war and its effects but there is a sameness across the stories that I didn't love. By the end of the book, not one character was distinct in my mind.
Fabian
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Realism is masterfully achieved in this collection of short stories. All the short stories are alike in the theme of our modern war. They're told with anecdotal precision in modern vernacular, so it is never boring. All of them are written in the first person P.O.V., which makes the entire work more personal.

Bottom line: It really is an important read...
Melanie
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"In “Redeployment,” Phil Klay, a former Marine who served in Iraq, grapples with a different war but aims for a similar effect: showing us the myriad human manifestations that result from the collision of young, heavily armed Americans with a fractured and deeply foreign country that very few of them even remotely understand. Klay succeeds brilliantly, capturing on an intimate scale the ways in which the war in Iraq evoked a unique array of emotion, predicament and heartbreak. In Klay’s hands, I ...more
Nicole~
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Veteran's Day- November 11th
To all our War Veterans: with tremendous appreciation and pride, a heartfelt Thank You for your bravery and steely character not just on the battlefield, but in resuming Life after it.

There are two ways to tell the story. Funny or sad. Guys like it funny, with lots of gore and a grin on your face when you get to the end. Girls like it sad, with a thousand-yard stare out to the distance as you gaze upon the horrors of war they can't quite see.
- Phil Klay: Redeployment
...more
Elyse
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Irritating! Annoying! Draining!

Wayyyyyyy too much profanity!

The 'in-house' jargon, (acronyms), were absurd. I'm not familiar with complex military
terminology. Much of this 'audible' came off feeling like ramblings.
It wasn't easy to difficult to follow.

This wasn't a book I was dying to read --(making things clear upfront) --
however, it's the new chosen pick for my local book club....so I was game.

I downloaded this book from my library on my over drive app -and started listening.
AWFUL... ju
...more
Washington Post
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In these dozen stories, Klay draws from his own experience as a U.S. Marine captain to give us one of the most compelling depictions to date of the Iraq war, and especially of the psychic toll it continues to exact on those who fought in it. In this regard, “Redeployment” will inevitably draw comparisons to “The Things They Carried” (1990), Tim O’Brien’s masterful evocation of the Vietnam War. Somewhat remarkably, given Klay’s age (he’s only 30) and his admittedly mild deployment in Iraq (one de ...more
Julie Christine
“Believing war is beyond words is an abrogation of responsibility — it lets civilians off the hook from trying to understand, and veterans off the hook from needing to explain. You don’t honor someone by telling them, “I can never imagine what you’ve been through.” Instead, listen to their story and try to imagine being in it, no matter how hard or uncomfortable that feels. If the past 10 years have taught us anything, it’s that in the age of an all-volunteer military, it is far too easy for Ame
...more
Eric Franklin
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For those of you keeping score -

"American Sniper" - 1 star
"Redeployment" - 5 stars

"Redeployment" is everything you want in a war book, an unflinching look at the disconnect between the people fighting and the country sending them to fight. It's smart in every way that "American Sniper" is over-simplistic, showcasing the ins-and-outs of war with sensitivity and nuance whereas "American Sniper" practically screams "F*** yeah! Let's kill more savages in the name of freedom!"

While fiction, the voi
...more
Trish
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Maybe the best way to get at the truth about war is to read fiction. Klay’s collection of stories shows us just how that might be true, for he comes at aspects of the Iraq war from unique angles: PsyOps, Chaplain, corpse corps, infantry, artillery. He must fuse the experience of many into these snapshots, giving us both an unreal picture, but one that is strangely more real than any other. What cannot be clearer is that we have to be very sure of our motives when we place men and women in harm’s ...more
Sara Nelson
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I defy any readers of Phil Klay’s stunning Redeployment to a) put it down and b) limit the number of “wows” they utter while reading it. These twelve stories, are all about the Iraq War or its aftermath; they are so direct, so frank, they will impress readers who have read all they care to about the war as well as those who thought they couldn’t stand to read about it at all. The strength of Klay’s stories lies in his unflinching, un-PC point of view, even for the soldiers he so clearly identif ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
So good. I'm always surprised when I finish a short story collection and realize there wasn't a miss to be found, and that every single piece stood strong all by itself. Normally, there's at least one or two hangers-on to fill the thing out, make it look all meaty and important and worth 25 bucks. But not here, as this is pretty much perfect despite it being of average short story collection size. And it's a book about jarheads? C'mon! I guess efficiency is kind of a military thing though, right ...more
Snotchocheez
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
"I bet more Marines have joined the Corps because of Full Metal Jacket than because of any f***ing recruiting commercial."
"And that's an anti-war film."
"Nothing's an anti-war film.. there's no such thing."





Except for perhaps the documentary "Restrepo", even the grittiest movies about combat operations, even those that have an anti-war undercurrent (like "The Hurt Locker", "Black Hawk Down", or, yeah, Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket") still have a patina of Hollywood glamor and video game glory that
...more
Douglas
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
"These stories demand and deserve our attention."

Although I didn't find this enjoyable (How could I?), I do agree with the writer Karen Russell, "Redeployment is a stunning, upsetting, urgently necessary book about the impact of the Iraq war on both soldiers and civilians."

They say you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I always wonder, why not? The stark photo of a solitary solider waiting to deploy is one of the most iconic book covers of 2014. Before winning critical acclaim,
...more
Maciek
Phil Klay's Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction, which is second only to the Pulitzer when it comes to American literary prizes. This is quite an achievement, considering that this is not only the author's debut but also a collection of short stories, which routinely get shunned when it comes to winning big prizes.

Redeployment contains twelve stories, each a self-contained experience of soldiers and civilians who are or were at one time deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, the
...more
rachel
The major (heh) issue I had with Redeployment, which may or may not be just my own issue having read The Forever War and Fallen Angels and The Things They Carried and loving all three, is that for the most part the stories don't read as new or original material. I also felt a disconnect from most of them, despite intimate subject matter. Klay has a just the facts style and seems to delight in the use of military jargon -- in fact, the purpose of one very short story seems to be the use of as man ...more
helen the bookowl
3.5/5 stars.
This is a book about being in war and witnessing death and combats firsthand, and obviously this is a setting that is very hard for the common reader to truly understand. However, I felt like Phil Klay did an excellent job describing things so that it became understandable. I recently read another book about the war in Iraq, and with that one I didn't get the same insight as I got with Phil Klay's.
This is obviously a brutal story because it is so honest and contains raw scenes - but
...more
Maxwell
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-it, 2014
What a way to end 2014. This collection of short stories is remarkable. I first heard about it when it was nominated for the National Book Award this year, which it ended up winning. And it is definitely deserving of the award.

The stories all center around American men who are serving or have served in Iraq. The author himself is a veteran of the Iraqi war. And the knowledge and experience with being overseas, but also the experiences of coming home to U.S. is definitely evident in reading this
...more
Siobhan Fallon
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To most, the war in Iraq is a finished chapter in history. Not so to the Marines, family members, and State Department employees in Phil Klay's electrifying debut collection, Redeployment. Thanks to these provocative, and haunting stories, the war will also become viscerally real to readers. Phil Klay is a powerful new voice and Redeployment stands tall with the best war writing of this decade.
Katie
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hopefully filming and getting up a review of this today!
Emily
Dec 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, fiction, review-copy
Klay is well-educated (Dartmouth grad) but writes many of these returning-veteran stories in the voice of an unlettered grunt. He has his characters say things like "my legs and arms ... are as pale as pigeon shit" which is a manly, unsophisticated comparison to make, but doesn't really work as a visual since (sorry for the detail) pigeon shit is also dark and lumpy. Because these are short stories, we don't really get to know much about any particular protagonist--they're not all the same guy s ...more
Chris
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Pretty visceral and spot on from the stories in the AO to those on the homefront. Stories about chaplains, artillerymen, civilian contractors, etc.. you name it-- the former Marine in law school checking the DOD news releases for names he hopes he doesn't know-it's all there and perfectly told. This is the second great book produced by a veteran and former public affairs officer-the other one was Fobbit. Perhaps if the politicians would read these stories and the poetry of Brian Turner they woul ...more
jo
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
people have favorite stories in this amazing collection, but i listened to the audiobook without knowing ahead of time that it wasn't a novel, and it took me a couple of stories to realize that it was indeed a collection of short stories. it's not that this fact is not clear -- the stories have titles and the first person narrator (consistently employed all the way through) has different roles in each story -- but the tone, the substance of the book remains the same. these are stories about peop ...more
Terri Jacobson
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Phil Klay is a former Marine who has had multiple tours of duty in Iraq. This collection of short stories is about soldiers in Iraq and their difficult adjustments to being back at home. The stories are gritty and hard-hitting. They give a stunning picture of the realities of war and its aftermath. Klay describes the soldiers’ reality

Somebody said combat is 99 percent sheer boredom and 1 percent pure terror. They weren’t an MP in Iraq. On the roads I was scared all the time. Maybe not pure terro
...more
Jennifer
I'm not gonna lie, I started and stopped this book three times before I got past the first story. Hell, the first three sentences:

"We shot dogs. Not by accident. We did it on purpose, and we called it Operation Scooby."

I would stop there and think, "Really? You have to do it this way, Klay? You have to shove it in my face like Hollywood, when I'm trying to understand?"

I left the book sitting on my bedside table. It was a library book, so it became due. I returned it, unread.

About a month later
...more
Kelli
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If I had to sum up my feelings about this book in one word, could I do that? What word would I choose to describe this stunning collection of short stories? Thought-provoking, perfect, intense, brutal, authentic, raw, heartbreaking, honest, hard-to-read, brilliant, unforgettable...luckily, I don't have to describe this in a word because quite frankly, I don't think I could. I'm supposed to be reading All The Light We Cannot See (the 28-day library loan that is due back in three days) but I picke ...more
Kasia
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
How desperately little do I know about wars we are engaged in and sacrifices made in the name of freedom. Thank you soldiers for the battles fought overseas and struggles you face when you come back home.
Megan Baxter
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are certain books that I find hard to review. It's not about the quality of the book, it's a deep-seated conviction that no matter how hard I try to put the book and its themes into words, I'll be doing the author a disservice. Those books where it feels that there's something to them that defies efforts to parse it out, that makes those efforts feel flat and misrepresentative. Like I'd be trying to muscle the book into being something else by describing it, instead of being able to write ...more
Matthew
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Marvin Gaye once sung that "war is not the answer". He was right. War, is not an answer. Instead, it's a question. Really, it's lots of questions. Complicated, difficult, messy questions. What makes Redeployment so great is that Phil Klay isn't afraid to ask any of them.

Having just seen the incredulously awful "American Sniper", which paints war as a black and white coin (you can only pick one side), Redeployment offers a fresh palette of many greys. War, to Klay, is complicated. It's messy. It
...more
Shilpi Gowda
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. An incredibly intense read.
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  • My Life as a Foreign Country: A Memoir
  • The UnAmericans: Stories
  • Fives and Twenty-Fives
  • Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War
  • Thunderstruck & Other Stories
  • Fobbit
  • Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories
  • The Good Soldiers
  • Blood Tie
  • The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows
  • The Field of Vision
  • The Corpse Exhibition and Other Stories of Iraq
  • Night at the Fiestas
  • Fortune Smiles
  • Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David
  • American Innovations: Stories
  • We Live in Water
  • Bark: Stories
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Phil Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged he went to Hunter College and received an MFA.
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“God always offers forgiveness,” I said, softening my tone, “to those who are truly sorry. But sorry isn’t a feeling, you understand. It’s an action. A determination to make things right.” 17 likes
“[Prayer] will not protect you. It will help your soul. It's for while you're alive.” 15 likes
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