Klay succeeds brilliantly, capturing on an intimate scale the ways in which the war in Iraq evoked a unique array of emotion, predicament and heartbreak. In Klay’s hands, Iraq comes across not merely as a theater of war but as a laboratory for the human condition in extremis … Each story calls forth a different dilemma or difficult moment, nearly all of them rendered with an exactitude that conveys precisely the push-me pull-you feelings the war evoked: pride, pity, elation and disgust, often pulsing through the same character simultaneously … Klay has a nearly perfect ear for the language of the grunts — the cursing, the cadence, the mixing of humor and hopelessness. They are among the best passages in the book, which, unfortunately, are unfit for a family newspaper.
Gritty, unsparing and fiercely observed, these stories leave us with a harrowing sense of the war in Iraq as it was experienced, day by day, by individual soldiers … The tales in Redeployment demonstrate a keen awareness of language and storytelling craft. Mr. Klay has a radar-sharp ear for how soldiers talk — a potent mix of bravado, sarcastic humor, macho posturing and military jargon — and he’s adept, too, at delineating the deeper emotions that lie beneath the swagger … The stories in Redeployment are told in the first person, but from a variety of points of view, coming together to create a kind of choral portrait of the war.
In these dozen stories, Klay draws from his own experience as a U.S. Marine captain to give us one of the most compelling depictions to date of the Iraq war, and especially of the psychic toll it continues to exact on those who fought in it … Although they hail from different generations and fought in different battles, O’Brien and Klay share a burden that the fiction-writing chroniclers of World War II didn’t have to endure: serious doubts about the legitimacy of their war’s underlying casus belli … Klay’s graphic but concise depictions of firefights and IED attacks are terrifically tense. His ear for the poetically profane language of gun-toting grunts, high on adrenaline and their government’s permission to take out the bad guys, is unerring.