Congratulations to Phil Klay! His book, REDEPLOYMENT, is one of five finalists for the 2014 National Book Award for fiction. Phil Klay served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged, Phil earned an MFA from Hunter College in NYC.
One of the absolute best books I’ve read this year is Phil Klay‘s debut short story collection REDEPLOYMENT, now out from The Penguin Press. Addictively readable and full of searing, uncomfortable imagery and detail, these stories take us on an unforgettable journey through the Iraq war as it is experienced and remembered by those fighting in it. You can learn so much about writing about war from Phil–his is a book I will be thinking about a lot as we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.
Lucy Silag: Why do you think that so few literary writers have written about the war in Iraq from the perspective of those fighting it?
Phil Klay: There are a few civilian writers who have written about the military, like Ben Fountain, Lea Carpenter, and Roxana Robinson. I think to do it right takes a lot of time and research. Plus, there’s the old cultural trope that you can’t know about war unless you were there. I don’t think that’s true, but perhaps that steers people away. If so that’s unfortunate, since I think we need thoughtful engagement with the wars from both civilians and veterans alike. Continue reading →