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Falcons on the Floor Paperback – April 3, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Falcons on the Floor is a solid first novel … an engrossing and compassionate read. --Bret McCabe, Baltimore City Paper

Falcons on the Floor is the rare novel about war that re-humanizes everyone involved. --Dahr Jamail, independent journalist and author of Beyond the Green Zone

A lyrical and sensuous poem, an astonishing and mesmerizing book. --Alphonso Lingis, philosopher and author of The First Person Singular and Body Transformations

About the Author

Justin Sirois lives in Baltimore, Maryland. His books of poetry include Silver Standard (NewLights Press) and Secondary Sound (BlazeVOX [books]). He published "deleted scenes" from FALCONS ON THE FLOOR as MLKNG SCKLS (Publishing Genius) in 2009. His novel DMBSTRCK is slated for release from Dark Sky Books in 2013.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Publishing Genius Press; first edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983170649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983170648
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,865,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In his powerful and methodical novel, Sirois guides the reader on a three-day trek from Fallujah to Ramadi as two young Iraqis attempt to elude the violence that has become entrenched in their lives. Spurred by his desire to slip away from his contract work as a designer of propaganda for the Fedayeen--and to contact a woman he only knows via the internet--Salim prepares to set out on what he believes will be a solo journey until his longtime friend Khalil insists on accompanying him. Khalil has also done contract work for the Fedayeen, though mostly grunt work, and he is an accidental celebrity of sorts--he appears in a widely circulated photograph showing two brutally massacred men. Their journey takes them alongside the Euphrates River past ravaged vehicles and ravaged lives with Sirois zooming in and out of the minds of his characters as he deftly moves between first and third person narration. Throughout, Sirois strings a web of grand tension as the reader is constantly reminded, despite and even within the levity between the characters, that death is imminent. In the distance, motionless shapes become men with weapons. The water of the snaking Euphrates River while refreshing to one man grows poisonous to the other. Within the grand tension of the war that Sirois has wonderfully captured, there are great moments of tension built on smaller more personal scales for the characters. Alas, this tension too often dissipates because it's never exploited, and a towering obstacle like crossing the Euphrates in an aged rowboat, for example, is too easily overcome. However, it's a small gripe for this meticulously crafted tale, and in the final third of the novel Sirois quickens the pace, the danger, and so too the pulse of the reader.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Falcons follows the trail of two Fallujan refugees, Kahlil and Salim, who flee the city before the Coalition forces first lay siege on the city. They make their way up the Euphrates River to Ramadi. Salim wants to find the Internet, to connect with a girl, to say "I'm alive." Kahlil just doesn't want to die for a cause he's not sure he believes in.

In the hands of many others, this story at this point in history could easily become politicized, polarized (War is evil! or The jingos ate your baby, or America F yeah!), but Sirois manages to tell the story without a lean. He tells it on its human terms. The characters are affected by the war, of course, and the war acts as an impetus for many of their actions, but this novel isn't about the war; the war is merely its horrific background, a circumstance at most, a thing that humans do and that makes humans do things, whether brave or cowardly or both.

This book isn't without its flaws, of course. There are some mechanics towards the end that get a little loose, a few moments where a slip in narrative affected my ability to be fully immersed in the story. There are some typos. Okay. And these things I'm sure lessened the book's impact to a small degree. To Sirois's credit, he was managing some complicated shifts, and to Publishing Genius's credit, this was the first novel they've undertaken. But I hope if or when you go to read this book, you'll show grace, you'll understand how even the most important things can go unpolished.
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By Tyler on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
There's a kind leisurely gravity to Sirois's writing that is very hard to come by. The novel's plot is fantastic, following the journey of two Iraqi refugees in search of the internet, but where Sirois really shines is his treatment of the mundane. He manages to take little things... toilet paper, bottle caps, battery usage... and craft a complex and compelling friendship that you hardly believe exists before it grabs hold of you and refuses to let go. Seldom have I felt so invested in a novel's characters, or realized that a title is quite so apt. Falcons on the Floor is a beautiful and convicting read, and has changed the way I'll think about global conflicts. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Sirois' willingness to change forms was a key to winning me over. After a prolog set in America, the first section of the novel hovers in a limited omniscience following Salim and Khalil. The second section is where the novel takes off, when we move from the more traditional narration to an epistolary style seen through the computer diary entries written by Salim during the journey.

It should come as no surprise that when two characters take off to escape the Iraq War, the war is going to find them. This novel is Chekov's gun on steroids. What Sirois pulls off in Falcons on the Floor's third act is an ending unlike any war novel I've read since The Things They Carried. I don't offer that praise lightly.

No spoilers here, except to say that once the bullets start flying the ending is not what you expect.

My full review is here: [...]
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Format: Paperback
I avoided reading it for a couple of months, because I was afraid of hard-to-remember names and unrecognizable settings. But I discovered within a few pages that the author, Justin Sirois, has so skillfully used uncommon similes that I felt as if I could understand everything. They help us see things we've never seen, on the other side of the world, by being able to visualize things we have seen. For example, we watch, as does Khalil, as the Digging Man prepares to bury an IED--an improvised explosive devise-- described thus: "Digging the hole for the thing, with the thing sitting millimeters from your ankles, its white tape like a bandaged foot and wire intricately woven into red and green and black braids, ..." My own foot happened to be bandaged in a white tube sock at the time I read that, and I could see (and feel) it all.
The story is so normal in many ways, a road trip with two friends with different personalities. And maybe that's what is so scary, because it sure isn't normal for us, safely here in the USA. I felt as if I were with the two young men the whole way to the end, and that somehow they were both my friends, so it was a painful journey.
Sirois, with the inspired help of Haneen Alshujairy, has accomplished a feat of transmogrification beyond the ability of most writers. We, the readers, are there, and we travel along with Khalil and Salim, and feel it all.
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