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The Ice Beneath You

by Christian Bauman

Just as The Things They Carried and Catch-22 spoke to their generations with truth and dark humor, this brilliant first novel defines the experience of war for its era. Benjamin Jones, twenty-three, discharged after an army tour in Somalia, heads cross-country on a Greyhound, seeking refuge on the West Coast. He has left behind his best friend, Trevor, and Liz Ross, a female soldier with whom Jones has fallen in love. But Jones has also left behind a tragedy -- a horrible, split-second action made in Somalia -- that Trevor, Jones, and the army have implicitly agreed to forget. Alone on the streets of San Francisco, and then north on the Washington coast, Jones finds that an uneducated ex-soldier is qualified only as a peep show fantasy object or as a hired hand to a bottom-feeding smuggler and pornographer. Recurring visions of his life as a soldier gradually reveal the full truth -- and agony -- of his experience, and a reunion with Liz and a violent confrontation with Trevor bring the young soldier's journey to a wrenching conclusion -- but one not without hope. At equal turns tense, brutal, and poetic, The Ice Beneath You is a soldier's story for a time when there weren't supposed to be any more soldiers' stories.

Voodoo Lounge

by Christian Bauman

Tory Harris and Junior Davis were in love -- a fierce, drunk barracks love that finally exploded in deception and betrayal. When their paths cross again it is the opening days of the U. S. invasion of Haiti -- the strangest of America's "little wars" of the 1990s. Rooted in the inner struggles of its characters and the weight of their secrets, Voodoo Lounge is the story of addiction in a triangle: Harris, a young, driven sergeant, the only female in her detachment; Davis, the disgraced former soldier whose tragedy burns all it touches; and Marc Hall, a Haitian-American intelligence officer sent to occupy his mother's homeland. In living, detailed portraits, the novel segues through an army boat, an old missionary ship, the depths of a Haitian prison, and a squatters' camp in the shadow of an HIV hospital. Voodoo Lounge emerges as a novel of longing and love, of excess and bareness, of betrayal flowing in the blood, and the cold, blind passion for redemption.

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