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Ben Fountain's Novel of Dallas – And President Bush's America

by Jerome Weeks 4 May 2012 12:26 PM

Krys Boyd talks with North Texas author Ben Fountain — just as he goes on tour for his new novel set at Cowboys Stadium, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.


Celebrated Dallas writer Ben Fountain was on Think this week, talking with Krys Boyd about his debut novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk — the novel that took Ben years to write after the remarkable success of his debut short-story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

Billy Lynn follows Bravo Squad, sent on a whirlwind “Victory Tour” from Iraq by President Bush to reinvigorate our flagging support for his administration’s war. The squad had become American heroes after a Fox News video of a brutal ambush they were in went viral — a firefight against a larger force that left one of their number dead and a second grievously wounded. The squad members are in Dallas on  tour — the last day before they’re shipped back to Iraq — having to meet and greet at  Cowboys Stadium.  As Krys Boyd says, it’s the first war novel set entirely inside a football game.

Warfare, football,Texas and big-money politics: Fountain is aware his targets may not be that new; it’s what he does with them that keeps them from being caricatures. The cheerleaders aren’t bimbos, the billionaire Swift Boate actually speaks some wisdom, the Hollywood producer isn’t a lying sack. Meanwhile, Billy wrestles with confusions over faith, love and duty.

Ben will be talking to Arts & Letters Live May 18, but you can listen to Ben and Krys here: