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Friday Was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East Paperback – May 6, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nathan Deuel is alive to the myriad contradictions of being a sentient being at this moment in history—the painful, necessary awareness that ones presence carries an entire empire in its shadow. Friday was the Bomb is about the tension between how much we want and how small we are—some will make war, the world will makes storm, and the rest of us will try to hold onto some fragile connection with each other. This is a book for the rest of us." — Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, and The Ticking is the Bomb

"There is a bomb in this book — many, in fact — but it is in essence a much gentler collection of surprisingly moving moments, dispatches from the outposts of empire. Deuel records the contradictions and fleeting pleasures of the world around him with the eyes of both a journalist and a young father. That double-vision makes Friday Was The Bomb a deeply human book, unique in the library of correspondents' tales." — Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family, Sweet Heaven When I Die, and Killing the Buddha

"You could not ask for a more reliable or charming narrator to take you through these fraught experiences than Nathan Deuel. His descriptions are visceral, poignant, clear-headed, and his self-portrait disarmingly self-mocking and honest. The result is a compellingly readable book." — Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body, Portrait Inside My Head, and Waterfront

"In these flares of imagery and reportage, of introspection and observation, Nathan Deuel pulls off the considerable feat of looking both inward and outward at once. Friday Was the Bomb gives you an unforgettably and, at times, almost intolerably vivid sense of what age-old troubles like grief, politics, and love feel like at the fragile outset of the 21st century." — Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision and Utopia or Bust

"While his journalist wife was off getting the big stories of the Arab Spring, Nathan Deuel was living in the Middle East and taking careful note of the small stories of daily life—which sometimes included explosions. His book is a brilliant, beautifully-constructed story about journalism, war, fatherhood, and love." — Paul Ford

"At first glance, Nathan Deuel's Friday Was the Bomb seems to be an autobiographical account of his half-decade spent in the Middle East; in actuality, it is a sustained reflection on lostness and foundness, on fatherhood, on national ambivalence, and on the fine-grained details that make up this composite called life." — Christy Wampole

About the Author

Nathan Deuel: Nathan Deuel contributed essays, fiction, and criticism to The New York Times, The New Republic, Financial Times, GQ, and The Paris Review, among others. In 2013, he was named first runner-up in Ploughshares' annual Emerging Writer contest. Previously, he was an editor at Rolling Stone and The Village Voice. His wife, Kelly McEvers, is NPR's Beirut bureau chief. www.nathandeuel.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: DISQUIET (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938604903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938604904
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For the last half decade, Nathan Deuel lived in the Middle East, where as an NPR correspondent his wife swashbuckled her way across Mesopotamia, embedded with Syrian rebels, and climbed nonchalantly atop Yemeni rubble as US warplanes circled above. Nathan, meanwhile, kept the Beirut homefires burning -- a former Rolling Stone editor, a father -- often alone, and taking care of their daughter.

FRIDAY WAS THE BOMB (May 2014, Dzanc) is a collection of personal essays from ring-side seats to some of the Middle East's greatest spasms: The end of US involvement in Iraq, the Arab Spring, and war in Syria. At once a mediation on fatherhood and an unusual memoir of a war correspondent's husband, it's also a long take on the best and worst we can do as people.

Nathan Deuel has written personal essays, creative nonfiction, reported pieces, criticism, and short fiction, in print and online, for Harper's, GQ, The New York Times, Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, and many others. He is a regular contributor of essays and short fiction to The Paris Review, a columnist for The Financial Times, and a contributing editor at The Los Angeles Review of Books. He graduated from the University of Tampa with an MFA in creative writing and lives in Los Angeles with his family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mike on April 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book teleported me to a time and place I will never experience first hand. As an average American concerned about me-me-me, about my House and sports car in the garage, this was a nice wake up call to places and events that are real. A must read for all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Texasbooklover on May 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
Friday Was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East
By Nathan Deuel
Disquiet/Dzanc Books
ISBN-13: 13: 978-1-938604-90-4
$14.95, 176 pages

“What’s the point of being safe if you don’t feel fully alive?”

I stood in Tahrir Square this past January and eyed the graffiti, what was left of it: FREEDOM, it says in English. A massive burned-out facade of something remains standing directly across the square from charming old apartment buildings. The famous square is actually a traffic circle; Cairo traffic is insanity wrapped in steel. My mind wandered, flashing to television images watched with my father as he lay dying in a hospital bed in Texas. It was brought back into focus by concertina wire barriers blocking the narrow street where the Egyptian Museum resides and the row of armored personnel carriers stretch the length of the street. The APCs are manned by seemingly agreeable-enough uniformed soldiers. The sign says photos and video are prohibited.

This happens to Nathan Deuel, author of Friday Was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East, too. His mind wanders and then is jarred back to the present by violence, either events actually occurring or the ubiquitous threat of same. Deuel and his wife, Kelly McEvers of NPR fame, spent five years in the Middle East—that nebulous term—from September 2008 until September 2013. They made their way from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where their daughter was born, through Baghdad, Beirut, and Istanbul, sometimes together but more often apart, as McEvers’s career morphed into that of a war correspondent right before Deuel’s conflicted eyes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Floridee on May 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In his book "Friday was the Bomb", Nathan Deuel allows us into his head and heart in recounting his five years in the Middle East to support his wife's career as a war correspondent with NPR while he raised their young daughter on the sidelines. The book gives the reader a colorful picture of daily life in this part of the world but it is anything but a documentary. Rather, it is an emotional account of loss, worry, fear, and love. Nathan's beloved Father dies suddenly, he is sick with worry about his wife's safety after several of their reporter friends are killed, he questions his own purpose in life, and questions his adequacy to be a single parent to their small daughter, Loretta. I read this book in one sitting and have thought of it many times since.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rose on May 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
we can each only die once (maybe -- see Hinduism, Buddhism and Steiner), so it is only in the fear of someone else's one death that we gain empathy for all those other thousands of deaths in the Middle East, or anywhere dangerous. Nathan Deuel's fear and love for his family in danger becomes intimate to every reader, and that's a valuable thing for the world.
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By C. Rosada on September 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
Both my husband and I loved this book which I purchased from Nathan Deuel during his stay in my vacation rental. I didn’t quite put together the enormity of details that both he and his wife must have had to engage in just to make their professional routes overlap in our city so they could spend a few days together. I think I knew Nathan was a writer, and I might have also known he was on a book tour, but I believed the larger mission of the visit was to support his wife’s work as a journalist while she revisited a story of national interest in our city. That is one of the reasons this book was a such a very pleasant surprise. I had no idea the subject of the book, or if it was fiction or non. We only knew he was Kelly’s husband and we wanted to see what he had written. Soon enough I was immersed not only by the contents of his journal, but also in the sweet and informative style of his writing. In this book Nathan shares his chronicles of the times during which he and his wife Kelly, a reporter for NPR, then assigned to cover middle-east conflicts, eventually as Baghdad Bureau Chief lived their daily lives. He was as physically present as possible in an equal role as both the emotional and physical foundation for his wife, but eventually to their baby daughter following her birth under circumstances most singular to the average American, in a Riyahd hospital, all the while Nathan was keeping track in his journal, some of which he shares with us here. Amid the chaos of their circumstances, and yes, the bomb on Friday, this couple manages to remain committed to one another, to their daughter, and to their mission to the necessity of reporting what was happening in these war zones and to that which must be known. Nathan writes with honesty and sensitivity while telling the most remarkable stories which he then ties together and presents to the reader tied with a black satin knot.
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By Abby Deuel on June 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My requirement for a good book is that I cannot put it down and the entire world has to stop until I finish it. Check. This book definitely did that. Perhaps it is partly because as the sister of the author, I am privy to more of the background behind the story than some. Perhaps it is because the journey in the book is so real and raw. Perhaps it is the quality writing. Likely it is a combination of all three.

My only critique is that I really wanted to have a "Come to Jesus" chapter at the end where Nathan learns from his wild experiences. Memoirs are fascinating to me but I enjoy them even more when there has been some kind of dynamic shift in the author's point of view. A lesson learned. Going to hell and back becomes more meaningful to the reader when it results in a denouement. Keep in mind, I'm no book critic and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Proud of my brother!
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