A collection of painfully honest and consistently empathetic glimpses of modern American soldiers in war and peace.


The lives of combat soldiers in America’s “forever wars.”

Glose adds his impressive voice to those of writers like Kevin Powers and Phil Klay who have produced powerful fiction about the experience of American soldiers fighting in the 21st-century wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 18 linked stories in this debut collection follow the fortunes of six members of a single platoon of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division (in which Glose served during the 1991 Gulf War), some of whose members have experienced four tours of combat duty in four years. They gaze with an unblinking eye at the physical and emotional tolls exacted from soldiers who aren’t fighting for a great cause but instead “because it was their job, each man risking everything because he loved the man next to him. Simple as that.” The relentless fear that grips these men and their anxiety and nightmares only partially quelled by cocktails of prescription drugs when they return to a country that has little understanding of all they’ve sacrificed are recurring themes. Accounts from the war zone like “Dirge,” in which one character is killed by an IED and another sustains a disfiguring facial wound, or “The Dead Aren’t Allowed To Walk,” in which an avoidable friendly fire incident takes the life of a key member of the platoon, reveal the omnipresence of random sudden death or catastrophic injury. In settings that range from an upscale suburban neighborhood in Princeton, New Jersey (“Sacrifices”), to a seedy bar in Pensacola, Florida (“First Drunk Night Back”), Glose exposes painful truths about the devastation wreaked on these soldiers and the families that ached for their safe returns and now struggle to relate to them when they arrive home. Throughout, he makes no effort to conceal the harsh realities of these damaged lives.

A collection of painfully honest and consistently empathetic glimpses of modern American soldiers in war and peace.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7988-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A flabby, fervid melodrama of a high-strung Southern family from Conroy (The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline), whose penchant for overwriting once again obscures a genuine talent. Tom Wingo is an unemployed South Carolinian football coach whose internist wife is having an affair with a pompous cardiac man. When he hears that his fierce, beautiful twin sister Savannah, a well-known New York poet, has once again attempted suicide, he escapes his present emasculation by flying north to meet Savannah's comely psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein. Savannah, it turns out, is catatonic, and before the suicide attempt had completely assumed the identity of a dead friend—the implication being that she couldn't stand being a Wingo anymore. Susan (a shrink with a lot of time on her hands) says to Tom, "Will you stay in New York and tell me all you know?" and he does, for nearly 600 mostly-bloated pages of flashbacks depicting The Family Wingo of swampy Colleton County: a beautiful mother, a brutal shrimper father (the Great Santini alive and kicking), and Tom and Savannah's much-admired older brother, Luke. There are enough traumas here to fall an average-sized mental ward, but the biggie centers around Luke, who uses the skills learned as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam to fight a guerrilla war against the installation of a nuclear power plant in Colleton and is killed by the authorities. It's his death that precipitates the nervous breakdown that costs Tom his job, and Savannah, almost, her life. There may be a barely-glimpsed smaller novel buried in all this succotash (Tom's marriage and life as a football coach), but it's sadly overwhelmed by the book's clumsy central narrative device (flashback ad infinitum) and Conroy's pretentious prose style: ""There are no verdicts to childhood, only consequences, and the bright freight of memory. I speak now of the sun-struck, deeply lived-in days of my past.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1986

ISBN: 0553381547

Page Count: 686

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986

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A quick, biting critique of the publishing industry.

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What happens when a midlist author steals a manuscript and publishes it as her own?

June Hayward and Athena Liu went to Yale together, moved to D.C. after graduation, and are both writers, but the similarities end there. While June has had little success since publication and is struggling to write her second novel, Athena has become a darling of the publishing industry, much to June’s frustration. When Athena suddenly dies, June, almost accidentally, walks off with her latest manuscript, a novel about the World War I Chinese Labour Corps. June edits the novel and passes it off as her own, and no one seems the wiser, but once the novel becomes a smash success, cracks begin to form. When June faces social media accusations and staggering writer’s block, she can’t shake the feeling that someone knows the truth about what she’s done. This satirical take on racism and success in the publishing industry at times veers into the realm of the unbelievable, but, on the whole, witnessing June’s constant casual racism and flimsy justifications for her actions is somehow cathartic. Yes, publishing is like this; finally someone has written it out. At times, the novel feels so much like a social media feed that it’s impossible to stop reading—what new drama is waiting to unfold. and who will win out in the end? An incredibly meta novel, with commentary on everything from trade reviews to Twitter, the ultimate message is clear from the start, which can lead to a lack of nuance. Kuang, however, does manage to leave some questions unanswered: fodder, perhaps, for a new tweetstorm.

A quick, biting critique of the publishing industry.

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9780063250833

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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