Fobbit

Fobbit

Hardback

By (author) David Abrams

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  • Publisher: HARVILL SECKER
  • Format: Hardback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 34mm | 687g
  • Publication date: 4 April 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846557216
  • ISBN 13: 9781846557217
  • Sales rank: 1,850,938

Product description

Fobbit 'fa-b t, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative. Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding works for the army public affairs office and spends his days tap-ping out press releases to try to turn the latest roadside bomb into something the public can read about while eating their breakfast cereal. He is most definitely a Fobbit. "Fobbit" takes us into the cha-otic world of Baghdad's Forward Operating Base Triumph. The FOB is the back-office of the battlefield - where the soldiers eat and sleep between missions, and where a lot of Army employees have what looks suspiciously like an office job. What goes on at the FOB doesn't exactly fit the image of war that the army and the government want to portray: male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta-Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox between missions, and most 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. But, as Staff Sergeant Gooding finds out, things can very quickly spiral out of control even in this seemingly protected environment. Based on the author's own experiences serving in Iraq, "Fobbit" is like Catch-22 and MASH, in fusing dark humour with pathos to cre-ate a brilliantly witty and profound work about life in the modern-day war zone.

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Author information

David Abrams served in the U.S. Army for twenty years, and was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as part of a public affairs team. His stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative and other literary magazines.

Review quote

"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

Editorial reviews

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

Back cover copy

They were Fobbits because, at the core, they were nothing but marshmallow. Crack open their chests and in the space where their hearts should be beating with a warrior’s courage and selfless regard, you’d find a pale, gooey center. They cowered like rabbits in their cubicles, busied themselves with PowerPoint briefings to avoid the hazard of Baghdad’s bombs, and steadfastly clung white-knuckled to their desks at Forward Operating Base Triumph. Like the shy, hairy-footed hobbits of Tolkien’s world, they were reluctant to venture beyond their shire, bristling with rolls of concertina wire at the borders of the FOB. After all, there were goblins in turbans out there! Or so they convinced themselves. Supply clerks, motor pool mechanics, cooks, mail sorters, lawyers, trombone players, logisticians: Fobbits, one and all. They didn’t give a shit about appearances. They were all about making it out of Iraq in one piece. Of all the Fobbits in the U.S. military task force headquarters at the western edge of Baghdad, Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding Jr. was the Fobbitiest. With his neat-pressed uniform, his lavender-vanilla body wash, and the dust collected around the barrel of his M16 rifle, he was the poster child for the stayback-stay-safe soldier.

Flap copy

Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding works for the army public affairs office and spends his days tap­ping out press releases to try to turn the latest roadside bomb into something that the public can read about while eating their breakfast cereal. He is most definitely a Fobbit. Fobbit takes us into the cha­otic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The FOB is the back-office of the battlefield – where the soldiers eat and sleep between missions, and where a lot of Army employees have what looks suspiciously like an office job. What goes on at the FOB doesn’t exactly fit the image of war that the army and the government want to portray: male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta-Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox between missions, and most 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. But, as Staff Sergeant Gooding finds out, things very quickly can spiral out of control even in this seemingly protected environment. Based on the author’s own experiences serving in Iraq, Fobbit is like Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, in fusing dark humour with pathos to cre­ate a brilliantly witty and profound work about life in the modern-day war zone.