Books April 2013
A terrible god to worship
A review of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War by Matt Gallagher.
Fire and Forget is the latest offering of the military-publishing complex, devoted to printing the works of returning soldiers and their spouses. The fifteen stories gathered here describe, in various ways, action in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the difficulties encountered in returning to civilian life. The collection also features some experiments with form, including a sardonic “choose your own adventure” which places the reader inside the gun-turret of a Humvee. Despite all this variety, however, there is a disappointing consistency of tone and effect. Stock characters frequently reappear—the deranged enlisted man, the hapless officer, the meddling civilian—and rarely do they challenge stereotypes. Additionally, questions of the authors’ motivations are unavoidable as these stories seem designed to support one viewpoint with regard to...
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