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TheGood Lieutenant

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Unforgettable . . . a structure that works brilliantly, making for a memorable study of Fowler, w... Read More

Product Description

Unforgettable . . . a structure that works brilliantly, making for a memorable study of Fowler, whose pure intentions we see slowly corroded by combat . . . Terrell gets to the heart of how war changes people.[The Good Lieutenant] steadily infuses its characters with depth and humanity and lays out the dubious intelligence and errors that led them to catastrophe . . . Powerful and sometimes heartbreaking.If only people read more novels like this one, told backward from a young woman‰۪s experience in Iraq back to her innocence in the American Midwest, we might think twice about sending soldiers to war.A bitter, sly, heartbreaking story of well-meant but ill-fated intentions, and of a battlefield incident that wreaks havoc on the lives that converge, or end, there.Devastating . . . Superb: [Terrell's] dialogue, his prose, the humane sorrow that suffuses his observations . . . Startlingly original . . . [The Good Lieutenant] might be the best work of fiction the Bush wars have produced so far.An addicting epic about disaster and, more important, what leads to disasterWhitney Terrell's The Good Lieutenant is a terrific exploration of courage, leadership, and loss, as experienced by American soldiers in Iraq . . . A stunning and heartbreaking testament to Terrell's genius and the nature of modern war.Whitney Terrell has unwound the myths of one of our most encrusted literary forms - the war novel - and remade it to be humane and honest, glowingly new and true. Terrell knows his facts on the ground, but this is emphatically, triumphantly, a work of imagination and literary ingenuity. This is brilliant, bold, heartbreaking storytelling for material that demands nothing less.Has the grand complexity of war embedded in its bones. It makes ingenious, compelling art out of those complexities. For that reason alone, its considerable graces are saving ones.A wild Humvee ride of a novel that embeds us so deeply and so sympathetically in its beautifully realized characters that we can scarcely draw breath until their journey comes to its harrowing conclusion. Whitney Terrell has written a deeply moving work of fiction to set beside Phil Klay's Redeployment and Kevin Powers's The Yellow Birds, with a singularity of vision uniquely its own.A stirring performance grounded in the hard realities of combat. The human beauty here is of the brutal variety-complex, dark, and impossible to forget.Like all the best novels of war, Whitney Terrell's The Good Lieutenant lays bare the special misprisions, faulty intelligences, and colliding ironies that mark our most pitiable human endeavor. But the novel's brilliant masterstroke is its reverse narrative, which proposes an almost magical universe in which these exquisitely wrought figures, full of vulnerability, delicacy, and hope, gain a most amazing grace. This is an arrestingly ingenious achievement.So exhilarating in its tautly rendered, faultless reality, so timeless in its play of human emotion in extremis, The Good Lieutenant dazzles and shames us as it breaks our hearts. The Good Lieutenant joins the ranks of great war novels that explain, too late, why 'victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.'Terrell shows us how soldiers think and address one another with a stinging combination of military argot and pop culture references.Whitney Terrell has been in his career both a great novelist and a great war reporter. In The Good Lieutenant he is both, and the effect is overpowering. One job of the reporter is to use facts to let us understand who these men and women are whom we ask to kill and die for us. One job of the novelist is to use imagination to explain the interior lives of others and the infinite nuances of life. It is extraordinary and rare that one writer can do both, but Whitney Terrell does, and masterfully.The Good Lieutenant is not the first novel written about the Iraq War, but [it is] one of the most unique and deeply felt.The Good Lieutenant‰۪s impersonation of an onion being unpeeled works to powerful effect . . . For Terrell‰۪s characters, war has determined that life itself is essentially unreliable. That he has turned this into fiction at once compelling and sensitive, dramatic and intelligent, is impressive indeed.A gripping, insightful, necessary novel of the war that is proving to be the defining tragedy of our time: the second Iraq War.

Whitney Terrell's remarkable novel of the Iraq War, The Good Lieutenant, literally starts with a bang, as an operation led by Lieutenant Emma Fowler goes spectacularly wrong. Men are dead - one, a young Iraqi, by her hand. Others of the casualties were soldiers in her platoon. And the signals officer, Dixon Pulowski. Pulowski is another story entirely - Fowler and Pulowski have been lovers since they first met at Fort Riley in Kansas . . .

From this conflagration, The Good Lieutenant unspools backward in time as Fowler and her platoon are guided into disaster by suspect informants and questionable intelligence, their very mission the consequence of a previous snafu in which an American soldier had been kidnapped by insurgents. We hear the voice of Lieutenant Fowler but also those of jaded career soldiers and Iraqis both innocent and not so innocent. Ultimately, as all these stories unravel, Terrell reveals what can happen when good intentions destroy, experience distorts, and survival becomes everything.

Whitney Terrell was an embedded reporter in Iraq during 2006 and 2010 and covered the war for the Washington Post, Slate, and NPR. He teaches creative writing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and lives nearby with his family. He is the author of two previous novels, including The King of Kings County.

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