Waiting for Eden: A novel

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“Patiently, and unflinchingly, Ackerman is becoming one of the great poet laureates of America’s tragic adventurism across the globe.” —Pico Iyer

Eden lies in a hospital bed, unable to move or speak. His wife Mary spends every day on the sofa in his room. We see them through the eyes of Eden’s best friend, a fellow Marine who didn’t make it back home—and who must relive the secrets held between all three of them as he waits for Eden to finally, mercifully die and join him in whatever comes after.
 
A breathtakingly spare and shattering novel that explores the unseen aftereffects—and unacknowledged casualties—of war, Waiting for Eden is a piercingly insightful, deeply felt meditation on loyalty, friendship, betrayal, and love.
 
“The Tim O’Brien of our era.” —Vogue

“Devastating.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Haunting. . . . Daring.” —The Boston Globe

“Heart-wrenching.” —NPR
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About the author

Elliot Ackerman is the author of the novels Dark at the Crossing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Green on Blue. His writings have appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Sep 25, 2018
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781101947401
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / War & Military
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This widely acclaimed novel about a female soldier who returns from Iraq haunted by a tragic mistake is “beautifully written…suspenseful and smart and tender in unexpected moments” (Miami Herald) and was named one of the 5 Best in Modern War Fiction by The Sunday Telegraph.

Before she enlisted, classically-trained singer Lauren Clay had been accepted to a prestigious music conservatory, but her family’s financial demands—worsened by her parents’ divorce and her father’s declining mental health—pushed her in another direction. Joining the army allowed Lauren to provide for her family—especially her younger brother Danny, whose quirky, heartfelt letters to her overseas are signed, be safe, I love you.

When she arrives home unexpectedly, it’s clear to her friends and family that something is profoundly wrong with Lauren. But her father is so happy to have her home that he ignores her odd behavior, as well as the repeated phone calls from an army psychologist. Things seem better when Lauren offers to take Danny on a trip to visit their mother upstate, but instead, she guides them into the glacial woods of Canada on a quest to visit the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, the site of an oil field that has become her strange obsession. What happens there will change Sergeant Lauren Clay’s family forever, as she must finally face what she saw, and did, in Iraq.

Be Safe I Love You is “a rare, illuminating glimpse into the distinctive experience and psyche of a female vet” (Boston Globe); “a riveting suspense story and a frank portrayal of war’s psychic damage” (Ms. Magazine); and “a painful exploration of the devastation wrought by combat even when the person returns from war without a scratch…this book is a reminder that art and love are all that can keep us from despair” (The New York Times Book Review).
**One of the Brooklyn Rail's Best Books of 2017**

"Nicorvo is a bracingly original writer and a joy to read." —Dennis Lehane

"A desperate masterpiece of a debut" that tells a huge-hearted American saga—of love, violence, war, conspiracy and the aftermath of them all." —Bonnie Jo Campbell

"Nicorvo’s muscular and energetic prose will stun readers with its poignancy, while providing a punch to the solar plexus." —Booklist (Starred Review)

"A dash of Coetzee, a dram of Delillo, but mostly just the complicated compassion of Jay Nicorvo. The Standard Grand is a brutally beautiful novel." —Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

"It seems possible that Nicorvo has ingested all the darkness of this life and now breathes fire.” Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

When an Army trucker goes AWOL before her third deployment, she ends up sleeping in Central Park. There, she meets a Vietnam vet and widower who inherited a tumbledown Borscht Belt resort. Converted into a halfway house for homeless veterans, the Standard—and its two thousand acres over the Marcellus Shale Formation—is coveted by a Houston-based multinational company. Toward what end, only a corporate executive knows.

With three violent acts at its center—a mauling, a shooting, a mysterious death decades in the past—and set largely in the Catskills, The Standard Grand spans an epic year in the lives of its diverse cast: a female veteran protagonist, a Mesoamerican lesbian landman, a mercenary security contractor keeping secrets and seeking answers, a conspiratorial gang of combat vets fighting to get peaceably by, and a cougar—along with appearances by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Senator Al Franken. All of the characters—soldiers, civilians—struggle to discover that what matters most is not that they’ve caused no harm, but how they make amends for the harm they’ve caused.

Jay Baron Nicorvo's The Standard Grand confronts a glaring cultural omission: the absence of women in our war stories. Like the best of its characters—who aspire more to goodness than greatness—this American novel hopes to darn a hole or two in the frayed national fabric.

From a decorated Marine war veteran and National Book Award finalist, an astonishing reckoning with the nature of combat and the human cost of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

"War hath determined us..." - John Milton, Paradise Lost

Toward the beginning of Places and Names, Elliot Ackerman sits in a refugee camp in southern Turkey, across the table from a man named Abu Hassar, who fought for al-Qaeda in Iraq and whose connections to the Islamic State are murky. At first, Ackerman pretends to have been a journalist during the Iraq War, but after establishing a rapport with Abu Hassar, he takes a risk by revealing to him that in fact he was a Marine special operation officer. Ackerman then draws the shape of the Euphrates River on a large piece of paper, and his one-time adversary quickly joins him in the game of filling in the map with the names and dates of places where they saw fighting during the war. They had shadowed each other for some time, it turned out, a realization that brought them to a strange kind of intimacy.

The rest of Elliot Ackerman's extraordinary memoir is in a way an answer to the question of why he came to that refugee camp, and what he hoped to find there. By moving back and forth between his recent experiences on the ground as a journalist in Syria and its environs and his deeper past in Iraq and Afghanistan, he creates a work of remarkable atmospheric pressurization. Ackerman shares vivid and powerful stories of his own experiences in combat, culminating in the events of the Second Battle of Fallujah, the most intense urban combat for the Marines since Hue in Vietnam, where Ackerman's actions leading a rifle platoon saw him awarded the Silver Star. He weaves these stories into the latticework of a masterful larger reckoning with contemporary geopolitics through his vantage as a journalist in Istanbul and with the human extremes of both bravery and horror.

At once an intensely personal story about the terrible lure of combat and a brilliant meditation on the larger meaning of the past two decades of strife for America, the region, and the world, Places and Names bids fair to take its place among our greatest books about modern war.
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