Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant: A Novel Hardcover – January 5, 2012
|New from||Used from|
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
***A New York Times Editors' Choice Pick***
“Delicious . . . A left-handed love letter to America.” —Daniel Asa Rose, The New York Times Book Review
“Lively . . . Hilarious . . . [A] whirligig of a book [that] draws some striking parallels between the way we mythologize stars and the way we look at terrorists. . . . From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant slices through these tropes, using Boy’s pure improbability as the skewering blade.” —John Freeman, Boston Globe
“In this funny debut, flashy Filipino fashion designer Boy Hernandez sees his American dream become a nightmare when he’s ensnared in a terrorist plot and shipped to Guantanamo. Gilvarry nails the couture scene, but Boy’s rough journey from Manolo to Gitmo is no joke.” —Andrew Abrahams, People
“It’s rare for a novel to tread so fearlessly into the political and yet to emerge so deeply funny and humane. Gilvarry is a young talent on the rise. Watch him gallop through the mess we’ve made of our civilization with style and panache.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story and Absurdistan
“The deepest intelligence is poetic, incisive and inordinately funny. Heads up, folks. Alex Gilvarry just walked through the door.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and Zoli
“Like 30 Rock at its most gleefully savage . . . [This] cocktail of themes—immigrant on the make, post-9/11 burlesque, sybaritic send-up of fashion and hipster Brooklyn—goes down smoothly because Gilvarry writes with authority, if often with tongue firmly in cheek . . . It’s not false praise to say that From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant anticipates our reality.” —Jacob Silverman, The Daily Beast
“From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant is sharply written and wryly witty, touching on the sensitivities and paranoia of post-9/11 America. . . . Combining a Kafkaesque hero with a captivating “coming to New York” story, Gilvarry’s debut is a timely and touching triumph.” —Stephanie Turza, Booklist
“One of the best celebrations and condemnations of American fear and ambition since Bellow's Augie March was doing the celebrating and condemning.” —Brock Clarke, author of Exley and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England
“Gracefully tackles politically charged subject matter . . . with wit and compassion . . . An engaging victim of uncertain times, [here’s] a protagonist who will appeal to readers of all political persuasions.” —Publishers Weekly
“This is a sly, witty novel. You'll be quoting lines from it to your friends.” —David Bezmozgis, author of The Free World
“Finally, a young American novelist who has the guts to confront the absurdity of the last decade. Gilvarry has given us a sly, hilarious, and wickedly insightful book about living in the United States (or trying to live in the U.S.) in the aftermath of September 11th. Fashion, terrorism, New York and Guantanamo Bay: in the hands of Gilvarry, hilarity ensues. A brilliant debut.” —Michael Hastings, author of “The Runaway General” (Rolling Stone) and The Operators
“Original, smart, and incisive . . . Part manifesto, part immigrant love story, part satire, part tragedy . . . [and] eminently readable.” —Roxane Gay, The Rumpus
“A smart, funny novel with political undertones that will also be particularly enjoyable for those with an interest in fashion . . . [Gilvarry’s] style and dark humor are subtle and witty . . . The events that unfold are equally disturbing and entertaining.” —Shaunna E. Hunter, Library Journal
“A talented writer and observer . . . [Gilvarry] skillfully captures the frenetic world of striving designers.” —Kirkus
“Captivating . . . evocative.” —Vogue.com
“Such a blast… Quick, witty and hilarious.” —Meredith Turits, Glamour.com
“Deadly serious, laugh-out-loud funny…A sparkling onion of a book.” —Carlo Wolff, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A unique satire of the topsy-turvy times immediately following the September 11th attacks . . . . which cleverly entwines the seemingly disparate fictional worlds [of] politics and fashion.” —The Economist’s Prospero blog
“A fabulous and poignant read….Gilvarry’s prose is both conversational and confessional, hitting all the right notes in this bittersweet rendering of the American Dream gone tragically awry.” —Nicole, Linus's Blanket
“Alternately amusing and chilling. The author showcases his gift for comedic writing, while simultaneously allowing the serious themes of the story to surface and take root.” —Rege Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“A poignant reminder of what contemporary fiction ought to be. You will laugh, but you’ll do so nervously, sitting at the edge of your seat.” —Ana Grouverman, The Rumpus
About the Author
A native of Staten Island, Alex Gilvarry has traveled extensively in the Philippines, where his family is from. He's the editor of the Web site Tottenville Review, he has been named a Norman Mailer Fellow, and his writing has appeared in The Paris Review. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
L/C Ratio: 40/60
(This means I estimate the author devoted 40% of his effort to creating a literary work of art and 60% of his effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)
30% - Life of a detainee
25% - NYC fashion industry
20% - Humor
20% - Relationships
5% - Politics
I don't typically consider suspected terrorists to be a source of comedy. Then again, nothing about Gilvarry's debut novel is very typical - and that's what makes it so refreshing. The flashback approach is well-crafted, while his characters and their dialogue creep up to the edge of over-the-top ridiculousness without crossing the line.
Knowing a chunk of the plot revolved around the fashion industry (a sector I am totally oblivious to) made me think twice about picking up Non-Enemy Combatant. But given that Zoolander is my favorite film of all time, it seemed wrong to pass on this novel. Despite the relatively lackluster closing chapters, Gilvarry's debut stands out as a bright spot in a pretty dull year for fiction so far.
I traced her ivory legs from her hemline to her flats, where an out‑of‑place L.L. Bean backpack with the initials T.W.M. rested against her ankle. I would find out later that the initials belonged to one Todd Wayne Mercer, an ex‑boyfriend. He took her virginity; she took his backpack. Fair is fair.
It seems that his main financial backer, a Canadian Muslim who believed in him and invested the money to get Boy his start, has been arrested as a smuggler with terrorist ties, and a stash of enough fertilizer to make many bombs. There is the Indian gangster who tries to blackmail Boy--pay up or he will turn Boy in as a known associate of the smuggler. His American girlfriend turns their love affair into an off-Broadway play about falling in love with a terrorist. Even his publicist is a mark against him. An Irishman whose family changed their name from McLaden to Laden to escape the prejudice against the Irish a century ago, Ben Laden has come full circle and this gay Irish man has lost most of his customers who don't want to be associated with someone whose name sounds so much like Bin Laden.
A travesty of justice, no doubt. Boy is left in a prison cell under isolation, his only human contact guards and interrogators. But then, but then. Under the torrent of Boy's words, his exuberant explanation for everything, a worm of doubt starts to build in the reader's minds. Is he as innocent as it seems, or is there a kernel of truth to be uncovered?
Alex Gilvarry has created a memorable character in Boy. His exploration of the immigrant mind and the New York fashion scene is fascinating. Readers will walk away from the experience of reading From The Memoirs Of A Non-Enemy Combatant with many questions about what is correct when a country is dealing with terrorism and to what lengths we are willing to go to protect ourselves. This book is recommended for readers interested in fresh writing, great characters and writing that makes them question their positions.