From the author of Fobbit, a novel set over a single afternoon following a squad of six AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their beloved platoon sergeant.
Brave Deeds is a riveting, disturbing war novel. Make that — a war-is-hell novel. It's a book that can leave you laughing, gasping and wincing ... Brave Deeds is a spiritual brother to Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain...Both books will force you to think deeply about what war does — to our nation, and to the people we ask to fight.
The soldiers are foulmouthed, sex-obsessed and fiercely loyal for reasons they can’t quite articulate — in other words, packed with young American male authenticity. Abrams’s prose is relaxed and conversational, with a few scattered literary nuggets that add heft, like chunks of beef in a vegetable soup ... In the climactic final scene, though, Abrams attempts to braid thematic strands of death and rebirth and religious communion, never quite attaining the emotional heights to which he aspires. But the central irony — that this funeral is more important to them than any mission their squad has undertaken — remains front and center. In the Iraq War, we veterans eventually realized that they were killing us mostly because we were killing them, and the reverse as well. It’s a cycle cruelly laid bare in Brave Deeds, where Abrams reminds us that death always begets more death.
With compact precision and the amusing patter of a sardonic narrator, Abrams captures the unusual histories of these ordinary men shuffling through Baghdad as they encounter the horrors of war. They may be AWOL on a personal mission outside command protocol, but they are heroes in their own ways and perform small brave deeds in the midst of half-baked chaos ... the story of a modern war filled with savagery, fear, humor and bravery.