Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War from Da Capo Press
“Searing stories from the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the USA by warrior writers. Fire and Forget is about not forgetting. It is a necessary collection, necessary to write, necessary to read.”
-- E.L. Doctorow
“I've been waiting for this book for a decade. I laughed, shouted, and cried while reading this kaleidoscopic collection. So many facets of war and the people who do our fighting are covered here. Fire and Forget is a literary history of this latest period of American wars. It's a profound and telling work of art.”
-- Anthony Swofford
“Captures the messiness of soldiering when the mission and endgame are unclear. Though fiction, each work reads true, filled with tension, fear, and anger. Readers are transported to desert checkpoints, ride along with vehicle convoys, and return home from combat to face an uncertain future.”
"In Fobbit, [David Abrams] has written a very funny book, as funny, disturbing, heartbreaking and ridiculous as war itself."
--The New York Times Book Review
"[T]hese Dickensian characters are all so skillfully wrought that we quickly accept their idiosyncrasies....What’s most intriguing about this work is that, at its center, it is both a clever study in anxiety and an unsettling expose of how the military tells its truths. Fobbit traces how 'the Army story' is crafted, the dead washed of their blood, words scrutinized, and success applied to disasters."
--The Washington Post
"[T]his darkly comic novel is a slice of awesome. Set during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the plot is awash with soldiers (and hundreds of pissed-off Iraqi citizens) and hones in on three disparate characters: Sgt. Chance Gooding writes press releases in the public affairs office; there’s dust on his gun, and he doesn’t send up flares to communicate, he emails the New York Times. Battalion commander Lt. Col. Vic Duret, prone to migraines, just wants to go home. And then there’s Capt. Abe Shrinkle, who soils himself at the slightest provocation and is quite possibly “the worst officer in the United States Army.” This ain’t Hogan’s Heroes. Like the best writing of M*A*S*H, it is true dark comedy in that it reinforces how unpleasant life can be for soldiers, and how ridiculous, funny, and stupid life can be. And it reminds us how cheap life is; how cheap American lives are."
"Abrams’s debut is a harrowing satire of the Iraq War and an instant classic. The Fobbits of the title are U.S. Army support personnel, stationed at Baghdad’s enclave of desk jobs: Forward Operating Base Triumph. Some of the soldiers, like Lt. Col. Vic Duret, are good officers pushed to the brink. Others, like Capt. Abe Shrinkle, are indecisive blowhards. But the soul of the book is Staff Sgt. Chance Gooding Jr., a public relations NCO who spends his days crafting excruciating press releases and fending off a growing sense of moral bankruptcy....Abrams, a 20-year Army veteran who served with a public affairs team in Iraq, brings great authority and verisimilitude to his depictions of these attempts to shape the perceptions of the conflict. Abrams’s prose is spot-on and often deadpan funny, as when referring to the “warm pennies” smell of a soldier’s “undermusk of blood,” or when describing one misshapen officer: “skull too big for the stalk of his neck, arms foreshortened like a dinosaur... one word came to mind: thalidomide.” This novel nails the comedy and the pathos, the boredom and the dread, crafting the Iraq War’s answer to Catch-22."
--Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Fobbit, an Iraq-war comedy, is that rarest of good things: the book you least expect, and most want. It is everything that terrible conflict was not: beautifully planned and perfectly executed; funny and smart and lyrical; a triumph. David Abrams has taken up Joe Heller's mantle--or not mantle; more like his Groucho nose and his whoopee cushion--and so his debut marks the arrival of a massive talent."
--Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng
In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield – where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like an office job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy. Of all the fobbits stationed at Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph, Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding is the fobbitiest. His M-16 is collecting dust, he reads Dickens and Cervantes instead of watching NASCAR with the grunts, and the only piece of Army intelligence he really shows an interest in is the mess hall menu. Gooding works in the base’s public affairs office, furiously tapping out press releases that put a positive slant on the latest roadside bombing or strategic blunder before CNN can break the real story. Another soldier who would spend every day at the FOB if he could is Captain Abe Shrinkle, but unfortunately for him he’s a front-line officer, in charge of a platoon of troops. Abe trembles at any encounter with the enemy and hoards hundreds of care packages, brimming over with baby wipes, foot powder, and erotic letters from bored housewives. When Shrinkle makes a series of ill-judged tactical decisions, he ends up in front of his commanding officers, and Gooding has his work cut out trying to make everything smell like roses--and that’s just the start of the bad news.