This is a collection of stories about the Iraq War written by a US Marine Corps veteran. They’re not combat stories; very little fighting is described. What Phil Klay is after is the psychological toll of being a soldier in (such) a war. These are stories of people coming back home; dealing with survivor’s guilt; making the switch from combat to leave; being 19, just married and trying to take in the fact that they’ve killed someone for the first time. Prayer in the Furnace, for me the most memorable, describes an army chaplain struggling to find – and offer – spiritual comfort in a world of heat and sand, blood and death, drugs and drunkenness and suicide. All of them are vivid, uncomfortable and compulsively readable. I’m looking forward to reading every single one of them all again.

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