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The Good Lieutenant: A Novel by [Terrell, Whitney]
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The Good Lieutenant: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 289 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"Surprising . . . We are left to wonder about our own lies, when they became acceptable to us, whom we trust and how we’ve become who we are." - New York Times Book Review

"A bitter, sly, heartbreaking story of well-meant but ill-fated intentions, and of a battlefield incident that wreaks havoc on the lives that converge, or end, there." - The New Yorker

"Terrell's audacious new novel begins with a literal bang as a U.S. Army patrol in Iraq goes terribly wrong for Lt. Emma Fowler, who is present as her secret lover, Lt. Dixon Pulowski, is critically wounded in an explosion while attempting to recover the corpse of a kidnapped sergeant." - starred review Publishers Weekly

"The Bush wars' best novel" - The Guardian

18 incredible Books you need to read this summer - Buzzfeed

"One of the most unique and deeply felt" novels of the Iraq war - Men's Journal

"An addicting epic about disaster and, more important, what leads to disaster." - The Washington Post

"Terrell has taken a stark departure from his Kansas City novels by writing about Fowler and her platoon, a recovery unit retrieving blown up vehicles and dead soldiers in Iraq during the dark days of high American casualties in 2006." - Lit Hub

"The details about Emma's trials feel true down to the tiniest details" - the Los Angeles Review of Books

"War novels skew decidedly masculine - even as women have taken on greater prominence in the military in numbers and rank. Whitney Terrell breaks from that myopia in "The Good Lieutenant." - The Kansas City Star

"The novel's . . . reverse chronology . . . cleverly destabilizes expectations of closure, sidelining questions about the who, what, when of Fowler's failed raid to raise more difficult questions . . . a memorable tale of thwarted optimism, incomplete intimacy, and collateral damage." - Booklist

“Whitney Terrell’s The Good Lieutenant is a terrific exploration of courage, leadership, and loss, as experienced by American soldiers in Iraq. Terrell captures the humanity and the absurdity of the conflict in a way that feels both specific to the Iraq conflict and also unnervingly timeless. A stunning and heartbreaking testament to Terrell’s genius and the nature of modern war.” ―Gillian Flynn

“Like all the best novels of war, Whitney Terrell’s The Good Lieutenant lays bare the special misprisions, faulty intelligences, and colliding ironies that mark our most pitiable human endeavor, not the least of which is the breathtaking waste of it all. But the novel’s brilliant masterstroke is its reverse narrative, which dispels the primacy of destiny and instead proposes an almost magical universe in which these exquisitely wrought figures, full of vulnerability, delicacy, and hope, gain a most amazing grace. This is an arrestingly ingenious achievement.” ―Chang-rae Lee

The Good Lieutenant has the grand complexity of war embedded in its bones. It makes ingenious, compelling art out of those complexities. For that reason alone, its considerable graces are saving ones.” ―Richard Ford

“Whitney Terrell has been in his career both a great novelist and a great war reporter. In The Good Lieutenanthe is both, and the effect is overpowering. One job of the reporter is to use facts to let us understand who these men and women are whom we ask to kill and die for us. One job of the novelist is to use imagination to explain the interior lives of others and the infinite nuances of life. It is extraordinary and rare that one writer can do both, but Whitney Terrell does, and masterfully.” ―Arthur Phillips

The Good Lieutenant is a wild Humvee ride of a novel that embeds us so deeply and so sympathetically in its beautifully realized characters―a young woman lieutenant and her platoon of male soldiers―that we can scarcely draw breath until their journey comes to its harrowing conclusion. Whitney Terrell has written a deeply moving work of fiction to set beside Phil Klay’s Redeployment and Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds, with a singularity of vision uniquely its own.” ―Joyce Carol Oates

The Good Lieutenant is a stirring performance grounded in the hard realities of combat. The human beauty here is of the brutal variety―complex, dark, and impossible to forget. Lieutenant Emma Fowler is our guide into a contemporary heart of darkness. This novel should be read by all.” ―Anthony Swofford

“So exhilarating in its tautly rendered, faultless reality, so timeless in its play of human emotion in extremis,The Good Lieutenant dazzles and shames us as it breaks our hearts. In Lieutenant Emma Fowler, Whitney Terrell makes real the confused politics, personal heroism, and human cost of the Iraq War.The Good Lieutenant joins the ranks of great war novels that explain, too late, why ‘victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.’” ―Jayne Anne Phillips

“With The Good Lieutenant, Whitney Terrell has unwound the myths of one of our most encrusted literary forms―the war novel―and remade it to be humane and honest, glowingly new and true. Terrell knows his facts on the ground, but this is emphatically, triumphantly, a work of imagination and literary ingenuity. It opens in conflagration―everything having gone wrong for Lieutenant Emma Fowler in one explosive instant―and from there the mystery of how we got to this disastrous moment unfolds backward, Memento­-like, as we watch Emma become more innocent, her life more full of hope and possibility, with each day less of war that she has experienced. This is brilliant, bold, heartbreaking storytelling for material that demands nothing less.” ―Adam Johnson

About the Author

Whitney Terrell is the New Letters Writer-in-Residence at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a graduate of Princeton University and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His first novel, The Huntsman, was a New York Times Notable Book.

Product details

  • File Size: 690 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 7, 2016)
  • Publication Date: June 7, 2016
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01828ANNK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,740 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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