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Missionaries by Phil Klay

Missionaries

Best Seller
Missionaries by Phil Klay
Hardcover $28.00
Oct 06, 2020 | ISBN 9781984880659

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  • Oct 06, 2020 | ISBN 9780593295601

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  • Oct 06, 2020 | ISBN 9781984880659

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Praise

“When Iraq War veteran Phil Klay’s debut short story collection, Redeployment, won the National Book Award in 2014, it was clear that a talented new writer had appeared on the literary scene. The promise revealed in that work now is fulfilled in his first novel, Missionaries . . . A tightly controlled, propulsive story. . . . In its mood and subject matter, Missionaries bears a kinship to novels from the ’70s and ’80s like Robert Stone’s A Flag for Sunrise and Joan Didion’s A Book of Common Prayer. Phil Klay impressively updates the themes of those classic novels for our time, where ‘clean wars with clear boundaries’ no longer exist.” Shelf Awareness

“If Redeployment was about what happened when we ship wars abroad, then Missionaries is what happens when war comes roaring right back. Expansive, explosive, and epic.” —Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
 
“Phil Klay’s work has the large canvas, bitter clarity, and wild imagination of the great Robert Stone. With Missionaries he more than fulfills the immense promise of Redeployment.” —George Packer, author of The Unwinding and Our Man

“With Missionaries Klay, winner of the National Book Award in 2014, has dropped a novel on us of a muscular veracity as terrifying and important as it is rare in contemporary writing.” —The Millions

“National Book Award-winner Klay displays his signature virtuosity in this richly textured, masterful mosaic of modern Colombia. A small village serves as both backdrop and microcosm of the country’s ongoing turmoil. The struggle for survival is deftly juxtaposed with the struggle for power, and the varying gradations of each are explored through multiple perspectives with nuance, grace, and poignancy . . . Each character is rendered in psychologically astute moral complexity and must interrogate his or her own complicity in a corrupt and often violent system. Ultimately, all are pawns in the chess match of deep-state machinations masquerading as diplomacy. As the characters’ lives begin to intersect in a rewarding, yet tension-filled denouement, the author’s prodigious skill and deep understanding of the region provide the scaffolding to explore essential questions of human dignity and sacrifice. A triumphant achievement that elevates Klay to the top echelon of contemporary writers.”Booklist, starred review

“[Klay] creates ambiguity not through atmospheric language or irony (Redeployment had its share of Heller-esque gallows humor) but through careful psychological portraits that reveal how readily relationships grow complicated and how even good intentions come undone in the face of humanity’s urge to violence. . . . An unflinching and engrossing exploration of violence’s agonizing persistence.” —Kirkus (starred review)
 
“The prose is consistently staggering, whether in the characters’ moments of self-reflection or unflinching descriptions of brutality . . . it’s quite a ride.” —Publishers Weekly 

“What happens when a novel becomes more than a novel? It becomes a prophecy. Phil Klay has written a prophecy.” —Elliot Ackerman, author of Red Dress in Black and White
 
“Phil Klay’s Missionaries is a big, rich, clear-eyed book about death and life; wise, compassionate, and, yes, as cynical as it needs to be when necessary, but full of vivid people caught up in that organized human violence which is our species’ haunting passion. I’ve maybe never read a war novel this good.” —Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright of Disgraced
 
“Phil Klay’s Missionaries has a sweep and incisiveness to it I had almost forgotten novels were capable of. I haven’t been so gripped by a book in years. It is immensely smart and farseeing, and utterly unsparing. Extraordinary.” —Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness and What Belongs to You
 
“This engaging and far-ranging novel is about the thorny battle for reconciliation in the midst of an endlessly-fought war. For all the tense geopolitics and violent special forces raids and guerilla warfare in Missionaries, Phil Klay’s true subject is the contested territory of the heart. It is here, in the novel’s poignant exploration of faith and parental love and uneasy moral compromises, that the cost of US military intervention is laid bare. A chilling and accomplished novel.” —Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas
 
“Something new for the canon of war stories . . . a true twenty-first century document: respectful of its antecedents but blazing its own path; a big, straight-faced, but subtly accommodating book that makes room for the absurd and the humane, for a sense of purpose and a sense of futility in equal measure.” Sewanee Review

Missionaries is an urgent, detailed, compassionate and quietly furious novel about America and her Forever Wars. Intensely readable, exciting, funny and heartbreaking – it will change you.” —A.L. Kennedy

“Shook me to my core. Klay takes the reader into the heart of Colombian darkness; the abuses of power, the forgotten lives of girls and women and how quickly human dignity —and conscience—get eroded in extreme times. This is audacious, heartbreaking, epic fiction.” —Mary Costello, author of The River Capture  


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