Redeployment by Phil Klay

redeploymentFrom goodreads:

Phil Klay’s Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.  Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

In Redeployment, a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people “who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died.”  In “After Action Report”, a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn’t commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened.  A Mortuary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains — of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both.  A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel.  And in the darkly comic “Money as a Weapons System”, a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball.  These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier’s daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming.

Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing.  Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss.  Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation.


Redeployment is a far departure from what I normally read but I decided to purchase this book after I heard an interview with Phil Klay on NPR.  And I’m so glad I took the risk and ventured out of my comfort zone.  Should you keep reading, you’ll noticed I eliminated the pinkness from this particular review and there’s a reason for that.

I more or less had an idea what I was getting in to but truthfully, I wasn’t prepared for the soul crushing journey at the hands of this writer who happens to be a former U.S. Marine Captain.  He drew on his own experiences to create this fictional work of art or at least that’s what I think based on everything I’ve heard and read.

“All That You Can Be?” I said. “I don’t know. That was the slogan for me, growing up. And then it was ‘Army of One,’ which I never understood, and then it was ‘Army Strong,’ which is about as good a slogan as ‘Fire Hot’ or ‘Snickers Tasty’ or ‘Herpes Bad.’ A better slogan would be, ‘You Can’t Afford College Without Us.”

This is a collection of short stories about the marines and while each made me uncomfortable in my own skin and broke my heart at the same time…it was Redeployment, which happens to be the title of the book that really stuck with me.  I just couldn’t get that particular soldier out of mind.  All these stories are an intimate look at what these men go through; it’s incredibly honest and compelling.

Mr. Klay did the impossible and that’s make me feel the effects of war to my very core.  I felt every blessed emotion.





“And glad as I was to be in the States, and even though I hated the past seven months and the only thing that kept me going was the Marines I served with and the thought of coming home, I started feeling like I wanted to go back. Because fuck all this.”

All the stories captivated me in a way that made me never lose focus. It’s gripping and beautifully written. I could cite this entire book because at the turn of every page there was a passage I wanted to hold on to but be warned, it’s gritty and dark. On the other hand, I did see small slivers of hope.

“Getting back feels like your first breath after nearly drowning. Even if it hurts, it’s good.”

I’ve always supported those who serve but after finishing Redeployment, I firmly believe we {as a country} don’t do enough to honor them in the way they deserve (healthcare, mental health, pay, etc…) and I suppose that’s an entirely different conversation.

Believe the hype people. This book is totally deserving of the National Book Award. ;)

PS: If you’re afraid to tackle the book, check out the very insightful post he did for the NY Times.






    • Cristina says

      Thank you Melliane! ♥ This book isn’t for everyone because it guts the reader about the long lasting effects of war. I would start off by listening to the author interview first…it’s safer that way! ;)

    • Cristina says

      Thanks Jeann and it’s definitely a powerful and moving collection of short stories! Wishing you a fabulous 2015 filled with amazing books! ;)

  1. says

    I just can’t imagine all the sacrifices and hard work our soldiers go through to protect the best interests of their countries! You could pretty much say that to every other soldier out there who are fighting to protect the things and people they love. I would love to be more intimate with their personas, and I’ll give this one a try when I feel like taking that huge step. Great review, Cristina!
    Faye M. recently posted…ARC Review: The Chosen Prince by Diane StanleyMy Profile

    • Cristina says

      EXACTLY Faye…we can’t imagine. It just confirms that war is totally unnecessary and as cheesy as it sounds…I wish we could just all get along. *shrugs* But this book was truly a great reading experience even though it was uncomfortable.

  2. says

    Oh boy, for the sake of my souuuuul and heart, I shall not advance myself on reading this one. I think I wouldn’t handle it lol…I mean, DEAR JOHN, while being my fav Nicholas Sparks book, BROKE my heart! Also, I don’t really like reading short stories, they’re really love or hate for me :P But I’m glad you gave this a shot and were not disappointed, Cri! Awesome review!
    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books recently posted…Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4) by Cassandra ClareMy Profile

    • Cristina says

      Thanks Zoe!!! :)

      I won’t lie…it’s really tough to read because it’s brutal and as a civilian we’ll never really understand, you know? And I don’t mind short stories but this felt so seamless that it almost felt like a full length novel. But I totally get why you would pass on this one. ;)

    • Cristina says

      Thank you so much Lexxie!!! :) It was indeed a tough read but I really did love it because it was incredibly insightful. And you really said it perfectly about being transported!!! Best wishes for you too in 2015! ♥

  3. says

    I recently reviewed a book about a group of women with their own survival stories in post World War II England. I mentioned that the best way to study history is to see it though someone’s perspective. I think this book is a good example of that. It may be disturbing, and heartbreaking, but war typically is.

    Great review!
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[474]: Wicked by Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

    • Cristina says

      Thanks Joy!!! ♥

      I’ve always known that war is brutal but this book gave me a first class session on what they really go through. Tough to read but an overall just a great eye-opening experience! ;)

  4. says

    Happy New Year Cristina! I wish us all an amazing year ahead! :D
    This book is definitely out of my comfort zone and war scares me. I don’t even watch war movies because it’s so depressing for me. I know it’s the reality right now, especially for certain countries so I really should give this book a shot. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Amazing review!
    Amir recently posted…Review: Little Peach by Peggy KernMy Profile

    • Cristina says

      AMIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ♥♥♥

      It’s not an easy read because it’s emotionally draining but it provides so much insight and war should scare all of us.

      I wish you an amazing 2015 filled with a ton of good books! :)

  5. says

    Maybe I’m going blind I couldn’t find you bloglovin button.

    Soul crushing is definitely not what I want or need right now. Plus anything military anyways effects me harder since I spent almost six years in the active army. Now I just don’t like watching military movies or stories, they make me too sad.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Cut Me Free by J.R. JohanssonMy Profile

    • Cristina says

      You aren’t going blind Tabitha! I probably didn’t get myself set-up correctly on bloglovin. *bangs head on desk* This is definitely not a book for you, seriously. Especially since you served. I think this book is better suited for those that don’t understand or want a better understanding of what we put soldiers though. And Redeployment definitely made me sad. :/

  6. Tricia says

    Great review! I try to read out of my comfort zone occasionally, but I’m not sure I could handle this one. I have a lot of respect for our military & their families, but I don’t like war stories (real or not). I don’t like the violence, can’t handle it. So, I don’t doubt your praise for this one, but I don’t think I’ll get to this one. So glad you loved it though!! :-)

    • Cristina says

      Thanks Tricia…no worries! ♥

      This book isn’t for everyone and even though I absolutely loved this book and what it did to me, I’m not sure that I will pick it back up to re-read anytime soon or at all. I love getting emotionally beat-up! *snickers*

  7. says

    Way to step out of your comfort zone on the last day of 2014, Cristina. Hehe! Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come in the new year. :) I used to read a lot of different genres, but then I fell into my current paranormal groove, and now I rarely venture outside it. I’ll for sure check-out the author’s NY Times article. Thanks for the link!
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review, Spotlight and Giveaway: Hungry Like the Wolf by Paige TylerMy Profile

    • Cristina says

      I’m not sure what came over me Carmel!! *snickers* But I’m glad I did and I’m hoping to explore other books in 2015 that I would never think of reading but that doesn’t mean i will give up on current romance-y type stories that I love so much! ;)


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