Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: The Iraq War Gets Its Catch-22

In his brilliant debut novel, Ben Fountain reimagines the events surrounding a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day 2004—from the perspective of eight Iraq war veterans participating as extras in Destiny's Child's jingoistic halftime show.

Image courtesy of Ecco

In his brilliant debut novel (out today), Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, $26), Ben Fountain reimagines the events surrounding a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day 2004—from the perspective of eight Iraq war veterans participating as extras in Destiny's Child's jingoistic halftime show.

Fountain tells this day-in-the-life tale in (sur)real time, accompanying the soldiers as they deal with overzealous well-wishers, movie-rights interest from Tom Hanks, and the title character's hook-up with a born-again cheerleader—not to mention their own combat-induced trauma. The novel is being hailed as a latter-day Catch-22, but it isn't a satire so much as a faithful rendering of the crazy reality of post-9/11 America.

— Hodler, research director at Details

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