Fobbit Hardcover – 4 Apr 2013
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"As funny, disturbing, heartbreaking and ridiculous as war itself" (New York Times Book Review)
"Fobbit is sharp; a well-observed and worthwhile contribution to the growing body of fiction generated by the conflicts of the past decade and lacking in the overwrought pretension of recent similar novels" (Patrick Hennessey The Times)
"Abrams has a definite comic talent and a lively turn of phrase" (Sam Leith Guardian)
"[Hilarious]... It is the rare writer – indeed, the rare person – who can step outside of himself and see with cold clarity the humor and pathos of his situation and then bring the reader to the same understanding. David Abrams is such a writer" (Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn)
"Fobbit blends fiction and journalism, an apt reflection of literary influences combined with [Abrams’s] experience in an Army public affairs team... Though absurd, these 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" (The Washington Post)
"There’s a lot of fun and wit here and the portrait it offers of a certain kind of American soldier, and a certain kind of war, is both valuable and accurate" (Thomas Quinn Big Issue)
"[Abrams has] a genuine sense of humor...and a productive sense of irony to go with it. Fobbit is an impressive debut and holds out promise for more good things to come" (Los Angeles Times)
"Fobbit is fast, razor sharp, and seven kinds of hilarious. It deserves a place alongside Slaughterhouse Five and Catch-22 as one of our great comic novels about the absurdity of war" (Jonathan Evison, author of West of Here)
"When it comes to war literature, a comic novel will always do a better job with the big picture" (San Francisco Chronicle)
"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. This debut marks the arrival of a massive talent" (Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng)
"A satire of comfortably numb life during wartime... Abrams spent 20 years in the Army, including a tour of Iraq, and he merely has to lightly fictionalize his observations to point out the absurdities of American occupation" (Newsweek)
"An instant classic... The Iraq War’s answer to Catch-22" (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a book that speaks to the power of fiction - a war story too profane and profound for the newspapers and the nightly news. Want to think, laugh and cry, all at the same time? Read this novel." (Matt Gallagher, author of Kaboom)
"This delightful, readable, believable and useful book made me furious!" (Tom McGuane)
"[Fobbit] is] like an Office-style satire that happens to be set on a military base in an active war zone" (Slate.com)
"Abrams is...convincing... Fobbit is a vicious skewering of this surprisingly large military subculture of war avoidance" (TIME)
"A unique behind-the-wire glimpse at life in the FOB and the process of “spinning” a war for public consumption. A funny, hard-edged satire about recent history and modern war-making" (Library Journal)
"Sardonic and poignant. Funny and bitter. Ribald and profane" (Kirkus Reviews)
"You might not expect an Iraq War novel to be funny, but I laughed—more than once—as I read this one. I cringed, too. There’s simply so much to this book" (Fiction Writers Review)
"Truly significant... a book about the absurdity of the way the war is fought, the way the war is projected back home, and the massive gulf between the two...a cynical satire in the same vein as the best works of legendary wartime authors like Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis, Kurt Vonnegut, and especially Joseph Heller." (The Rumpus)
"Fobbit is two things in one – a scathing, deeply felt diatribe against military disasters large and small, and an often-hilarious examination of very human, very weak characters living next door to a combat zone. The good news is that you only have to buy one copy, and you should waste no time in doing so" (Bookreporter.com)
"Fobbit should be required reading for America. Hilarious and tragic, it’s as if Louis C.K. and Lewis Black provided commentary to The Hurt Locker. There will be innumerable comparisons to Catch-22, but Fobbit, believe me, stands on its own" (George Singleton, author of Stray Decorum)
"Funny and evocative, with great glimpses of soldier-speak and deployment day to day life, each laugh in the novel is accompanied with a troubling insight into the different types of battles that our soldiers encounter on a non-traditional battlefield" (Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone)
"The author describes Fobbit as an ‘anti-stupidity’ novel, not an anti-war novel, and with 20 years’ service he has the evidence and flair to write the former... Fobbit is bliss" (Military Times)
"Abrams shows these men and women in their natural habitats, stuck somewhere halfway between the actual violence of war and the goofy excess of American culture" (Book Riot)
"The insanity is linguistic, and Abrams’s dark humor about lying through language would appeal to George Orwell... Fobbit invites us to laugh over our collective foolishness—foolishness that sometimes includes deaths. That’s the toughest, most painful laughter of all" (Great Falls Tribune)
"“[Fobbit] gives such full-blooded life to the soldiers whose “pale, gooey center” is so antithetical to battlefield heroism that he propels the word into the everyday by the force of his narrative" (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"Abram's tale is powerful stuff" (Shelf Awareness)
"If Vonnegut and Heller were the undisputed chroniclers of the madness of World War II, Abrams should be considered the resounding new voice of the Iraq War" (Montana Standard)
"[As] dark as it is funny, which is to say considerably... [Abrams has] written a book that makes you laugh and makes you wince, often at the same time, all the while staying true to its message: that people are foolish on many levels, sometimes fatally so, but they are all motivated by the same basic needs, desires, and fears...There are no heroes here, but no villains either. Each character fights his own war, and nobody wins" (The Millions)
'The Iraq War’s answer to Catch-22' Publisher's Weekly
A Notable Book of the Year - New York Times Book Review
One of Amazon.com's Top 100 Best Books of 2012
Shortlisted for the LA Times First Novel AwardSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It largely gives the view of the war from the point of the various logistics, operational and support personnel who pass their entire tour in Iraq within the confines of a Forward Operating Base (thus, they are FOBbits). There is a great deal of humour in the terrified existence of these people, who live in terror of ever being ordered to leave the safety of the heavily defended FOB. Unfortunately, this sometimes descends in farce and outright parody, without the finesse of Catch 22 (with which this book is often compared).
On the flip side, Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five and now Fobbit all show us the absurdities of war, as well as the atrocities. You feel that you are granted the right to laugh, but it doesn't make the situation itself any less tragic.
Fobbit is great. I really liked Catch-22 and as I was reading, felt this could be called the modern equivalent. We have several narrators, each with their own take on the Iraq conflict. The Fobbit of the title is Gooding, a desk jockey. Fobbits are thus called because, like Hobbits, they keep their heads down in their Hobbit/Fobbit holes in Headquarters, doing paperwork in Forward Operating Base (FOB) and not venturing out into the field, earning condemnation from their battle-hardened fellows. Gooding writes press releases after soldiers are killed. He wants to keep his head down and get back home.
As does Abe Shrinkle - out in the field but a terrible company commander. Shrinkle hoards care packages and is an accident waiting to happen. No respect, no leadership ability.
Other narrators tell their stories, in the field, in the relative safety of the FOB, adding to the picture of barely disguised, organised chaos and PR trickery.
It should be a tragic tale but is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and very well composed. I loved Abrams' witty use of language and character to convey the vivid impression of the Fobbits in their air-conditioned trailers and the 'grunts' out in the field, as well as the piranha-like media constantly after an appetising story of death and destruction.
Definitely should be considered as part of the canon of blackly humorous modern war novels.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have some experience of the Middle East and American military bureacracy so this black comedy rings very true.
The ridiculous and the deadly are intertwined.
Yes, I'm sure everyone will compare this to Catch 22. It isn't as poignant as Joseph Heller's masterpiece but I enjoyed it very much.Published on 27 Aug. 2013 by Mrs Susan M Hazelwood
I quite enjoyed this book but it did not help itself by referencing Catch 22 (and by implication comparing itself to that book). Read morePublished on 17 Jun. 2013 by passport