Missionaries by Phil Klay - review by David Annand

David Annand

Soldiers of Misfortune

Missionaries

By

Canongate 416pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

In 2014, the former US marine Phil Klay, who served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, published Redeployment, a collection of twelve brilliant, brutal short stories that won him the National Book Award for Fiction. In these stories Klay offered up a huge range of different voices, from a self-reflective army chaplain to a host of damaged ground soldiers incapable of processing the enormity of their experiences. Redeployment provided evidence that Klay was not simply a soldier who could write a bit, but a writer who happened to have gone to war.

Six years on, Klay has published his first novel, Missionaries, which continues his examination of modern warfare, specifically the impact of ‘America’s not-quite-empire which was always projecting military power across the globe and just shifting the rationale of why’. In Redeployment his focus was up close and personal. In Missionaries

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