Exactly six months from today, my second novel Brave Deeds will be out in the world. I’m very proud of this book and hope those of you who read it will find it to be even better than Fobbit (though, in truth, it’s a horse of a slightly different color―a little more sober and serious than the screwball tour of duty experienced by Chance Gooding Jr., Abe Shrinkle, et al). And if you don’t find it’s your cup of tea, that’s okay; I’ll just work harder to make the next book even better yet.
Some early readers have already chimed in on Brave Deeds and I am eternally grateful for their comments. They are all busy artists and for them to take time out from their schedules to not only read the book but say nice things about it means the world to me. It’s true: a writer is kept afloat on the rough seas of publishing and bookselling by the community that supports him or her beneath the waves.
First, a synopsis of what waits for you on the pages of Brave Deeds:
Spanning eight hours, the novel follows a squad of six AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their leader, Staff Sergeant Rafe Morgan. Cut off from all communication with their company headquarters back on the base, they find themselves struggling to survive in an inhospitable landscape. As the men make their way to the funeral, they recall the most ancient of warriors while portraying a cross section of twenty-first-century America: sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but subject to the same human flaws as all of us. Drew is reliable in the field but unfaithful at home. Cheever, overweight and whining, is a friend to no one—least of all himself. Specialist Olijandro, or O, is distracted by dangerous romantic thoughts of his ex-wife. Fish’s propensity for violence is what drew him to the military and could be a catalyst for the day’s events. Park is the quiet one, but his quick thinking may make him the day’s hero. And platoon commander Dmitri “Arrow” Arogapoulos is stalwart, yet troubled with questions about his own identity and sexuality. As the six march across Baghdad, their complicated histories, hopes, and fears are told in a chorus of voices that merge into a powerful portrait of the modern war zone and the deepest concerns of us all, military and civilian alike.“Brave Deeds perfectly captures the strange mixture of camaraderie, humor, beauty and brutality experienced by men at war. It reads like a fever dream, like unvarnished documentary truth, and sometimes like both at once.” (Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment)
“In one very full, very messed up and hair-raising day, Brave Deeds delivers everything we could ever ask for in a novel, no less than birth, death, and all points in between. David Abrams has written a flat-out brilliant book of the Iraq War, one that reads like a compact version of the Odyssey or Going After Cacciato. Soldiers on a journey―it’s one of humankind’s oldest stories, and Abrams has given us the latest dispatch from the field, to stunning effect.” (Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk)
“At the beginning of Brave Deeds I was laughing out loud, and enjoying the feeling of being among the Army squad, even one making an insane walk through Baghdad. But by the end of the book I was silent: I was really undone by it. David Abrams has done something very powerful, drawing together the different layers of this story so beautifully, and drawing us down below the surface to a place of darkness and sadness. It’s a tour de force. Bravo.” (Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta)
“I have never read another author with David Abrams’s uncanny knack for laugh-out-loud sarcasm one instant and gutting compassion in the next. If there’s a situation more emblematic of the forever wars―in league with Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk―I can’t imagine it. By the end Abrams had me holding my heart in my hands. Brave Deeds is hilarious, subversive, devastating, beautiful, human, and written with the kind of skillful light touch we expect from master fiction writers.” (Andria Williams, author of The Longest Night)
“A dizzying rush of a story, Brave Deeds serves as a testament to the manifold acts of courage and folly demanded by soldiering. David Abrams writes with moxie, and this odyssey across Baghdad cements his standing as one of our most indispensable chroniclers of contemporary war.” (Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood)
Thank you Phil, Ben, Roxana, Andria and Matt for your amazing generosity!