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eBook Sparta: A Novel ePub

eBook Sparta: A Novel ePub

by Roxana Robinson

  • ISBN: 1250050170
  • Category: Genre Fiction
  • Subcategory: Literature
  • Author: Roxana Robinson
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Picador (June 3, 2014)
  • Pages: 400
  • ePub book: 1977 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1610 kb
  • Other: txt doc mobi txt
  • Rating: 4.1
  • Votes: 521

Description

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FREE shipping on qualifying offers. Conrad Farrell does not come from a military family, but as a classics major at Williams College, he has encountered the powerful appeal of the Marine Corps ethic: Semper Fidelis comes straight from Sparta.

As Roxana Robinson’s new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad .

As Roxana Robinson’s new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after four years in Iraq, and he’s beginning to learn that something has changed in his landscape. Something has gone wrong, though things should be fine: he hasn’t been shot or wounded; he’s never had psychological troubles. A Best Books of the Year at the BBC. Publishers Weekly, The 10 Best Contemporary War Novels. Read a Q&A about the book. Vividly and with unflinching wisdom, Robinson has given voice, substance, and profound reality to her protagonist Conrad Farrell of the Marine Corps-and in so doing to thousands of veterans like him.

As Roxana Robinson's new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after .

As Roxana Robinson's new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after four years in Iraq, and he's beginning to learn that something has changed in his landscape. Something has gone wrong, though things should be fine: he hasn't been shot or wounded; he's never had psychological troubles. In Roxana Robinson's lucid and elegant prose, her characters' inner worlds open up to us, revealing private emotional cores that are familiar in their needs, their secrets, and their longings. These people tell us the truth-not only about themselves, their relationships, and their lives, but about ourselves as well.

Roxana Robinson is the author of ten books - six novels, three collections of short stories, and the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Best American Short Stories, Tin House and elsewhere. Praise for Dawson’s Fall.

Roxana Robinson (born 30 November 1946) is an American novelist and biographer whose fiction explores the complexity of familial bonds and fault lines. She is best known for her 2008 novel, Cost, which was named one of the Five Best Novels of the Year by The Washington Post. She is also the author of Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life, and has written widely on American art and issues pertaining to ecology and the environment.

The returning military veteran is a firmly established character in American literature. Like most of the fiction that has preceded it, Roxana Robinson’s new novel, Sparta, places a young man in this role: Conrad, a Williams graduate who flies back home to the United States after four years in Iraq to face the weird vagaries of his homeland.

Going from peace to war can make a young man into a warrior  . As Roxana Robinson's new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after four years in Iraq, and he's beginning to learn that something has changed in his landscape. Something has gone wrong, though things should be fine: he hasn't been shot or wounded; he's never had psychological troubles-he shouldn't have PTSD.

Read online books written by Roxana Robinson in our e-reader absolutely for free. Author of Sparta at ReadAnyBook.

Conrad Farrell does not come from a military family, but as a classics major at Williams College, he has encountered the powerful appeal of the Marine Corps ethic: Semper Fidelis comes straight from Sparta, a society where every citizen doubled as a full-time soldier. When Conrad graduates, he joins the Marines to continue a long tradition of honor, courage, and commitment over the course of a four-year tour in Iraq. When we meet him, he has just come home to Katonah, New York. As Conrad attempts to find his footing in the civilian world, he learns how hard it is to return to the people and places he used to love. Gradually, he awakens to a growing rage and the realization that something has gone wrong.

Suspenseful, compassionate, and perceptive, Roxana Robinson's Sparta "is a beautifully written novel that illuminates what happens when we're estranged from the world as we know it" (Chicago Tribune).

Comments

Ricep Ricep
When I returned home Vietnam in 1970, authors had begun telling the Vietnam experience. Michael Herr, Larry Heinemann, Neil Sheehan, Bobby Jo Mason, Rick Atkinson, Gloria Emerson, David Halberstam, Ward Just, James Webb, Frances Fitzgerald, Tim O'Brien and many others tried through literature to understand a war that was long, horrific, misunderstood, so wrong and, in 1970, still going on. I was an infantryman and I have always felt that no author re-created the experience of Vietnam for the infantryman as well as Tim O'Brien in The Things They Carried.

Now we have a new classic. Roxana Robinson in Sparta has accomplished an understanding of PTSD with such intricate complexity that the book amazed me.

The author takes us on a journey through the life of the returning soldier, Marine Lieutenant Conrad Farrell, who joined the military after studying classics at Williams College. We are introduced to the history of Sparta, its connection to Farrell's classics studies and the enlistee's unusual decision to serve a higher purpose by joining the Marines. This naïve patriotism/idealism sired by the Greek classics rebounded on him and his family in ways that he never could have understood before his enlistment unless, of course, if he had read the Vietnam classics.

Farrell becomes an officer at Quantico where he begins to learn the art of shunning those who do not fit in. The military teaches you to despise before it teaches you to kill. If it does not teach that lesson well, a soldier cannot kill and expect to ever again regain a measure of mental stabily. Robinson describes this in one amazing narration.

Conrad's training leads him to Iraq in the years between 2003-2006 where he is subjected to the trauma of war as a victim and an avid participant. He then goes from the war zone in 2006 to civilian life in one plane ride. He arrives home with no understanding of himself, his mission or the country that sent him there. He arrives to a family who no longer have any understanding of him. However, his family has one ingredient that not every returning veteran returns to: a family who deeply wants to understand and help. Farrell's only trust is placed in his former platoon members who are now scattered throughout the country and Afghanistan and to whom he connects by email. Some of them are now facing the same enemy as Farrell. The only Americans he identifies with are those who face American life as landscapers, cab drivers, kitchen workers, maids and others who struggle at the low end of our economic ladder and whom Farrell believes may not even be Americans. He sees the rest of our celebrity culture as anathema to his Marine training. His eyes are drawn to those who look like they might be from Iraq and and Middle Eastern regions. His father and mother are strangers, his sister and brother are strangers, his girlfriend is a stranger, former friends are strangers and the world is a place that must be seen with your back to the wall and your eyes open.

This is the finest novel I have ever read on the topic of PTSD. Roxana Robinson captures the world of a mentally stricken veteran who exists before his service and after his service with a stark line down the middle. It is a fascinating portrayal, made more fascinating by the fact that just like the best movie about the Iraq experience won an Academy Award for a woman director, Katherine Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, the best novel about PTSD is also written by a woman, Roxana Robinson. Ms. Robinson should be rewarded as bountifully as Ms. Bigelow was because she has rewarded her readers with a superb novel that is hard to read but impossible to put down.
Silvermaster Silvermaster
I am generally complementary of books that I read to the end. If I am reading a book that I think is not worth finishing, I don't. I did finish this book because it had some redeeming qualities that certainly made it worth seeing through to the end. But my problems with this book were threefold: 1) For some inexplicable reason, the author felt it necessary to go into great and tedious detail in describing the clothes people were wearing, and the furniture in the house or room, etc. It did nothing to add to the book, and I took to just skimming to get past it. 2) The main character was difficult to feel sympathetic toward. He seemed to have no heart or soul and to be nothing more than his PTSD. He was totally self-centered, and lacking in insight and problem solving skills despite the fact that he was a college educated Marine officer. His PTSD was making him dysfunctional but it never occurred to him to seek help anywhere else but from the frustrating, bureaucratic, and tediously slow VA? Really? 3) The author apparently interviewed many Iraq and Afghanistan war vets in researching her book, but instead of distilling down what they told her of their experiences, she seems to have just taken every PTSD symptom described to her by every vet she interviewed, cranked them up to the highest level, and gave them all to the main character. I am sure there probably are vets who suffer with all of the issues, to the extent the main character has, but I do not believe it is typical and therefore not instructive in giving the reader an understanding of the complexity of the disorder and the individuals who experience it.,
Getaianne Getaianne
Roxana Robinson's SPARTA is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking literary fiction that kept me reading late into the night, And as I got closer and closer to the book's end, I began to dread what would come, was actually afraid for this young man, protagonist Conrad Farrell, and what he might do. Because he had become that real to me. Not a fictional character, but a real-life, flesh and blood human being, and one who was in deep trouble, tortured by unbearable "storms of anguish and grief and despair ... of guilt and shame."

With Marine Corps LT Conrad Farrell, a returning Iraq War veteran, Roxana Robinson has created a character who, while real enough as an individual - and vividly so - could also be construed as a composite of thousands of veterans irreparably damaged by the war. And so many of them, like Farrell, fail to seek help because they are still governed by the "suck it up" and "be a man" mindset drilled into them by their training.

Farrell comes from a comfortably upper-class background in Westchester County, and is a graduate of Williams College, where he studied the classics. His father is a professor, his mother a licensed social worker and therapist. It seems an unlikely background for a Marine officer, in this era of no draft and a professional military which comprises barely one percent of the population. But Conrad was drawn by that age old pull of wanting to test himself, and there was also some idealism, wanting to do something for his country. The Iraq War was not yet a reality when he signed up, but came soon after, and his long nightmare of combat, casualties, and his subsequent return to an uncaring general populace is documented here in a narrative so compelling and real that it will not just draw you in; it will break your heart.

It doesn't take Conrad long, upon his return home, to realize that he doesn't fit in, not with his loving family, not with his girl friend. Not anywhere. A veteran of numerous firefights and victim of IEDs, he is plagued by crippling headaches, bloody memories and horrifying flashbacks, and forced to admit, "The stuff in my head is permanent. It can't be erased." And only when thoughts of suicide become more frequent does he seek help, through an overburdened and indifferent VA Hospital system.

Robinson compares the rigid warrior codes and training of Sparta, the ancient Greek city-state, to those of the Marine Corps, and tells us -

"Sparta failed, in the end, because the energies of the state were directed only toward war ... The costs of war were great, both to the nation and to the soldiers. Sparta made young boys into warriors; it was left to the warriors to restore themselves to men."

Conrad Farrell's story is grim proof of the difficulty of effecting such a restoration.

Roxana Robinson's previous novel, which I have not read, is called COST. She could have easily used the same title for this book, with its heart wrenching descriptions of the human cost of our current wars. Robinson is a marvelous writer, and SPARTA is a book which cries out to be read. My highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, SOLDIER BOY: AT PLAY IN THE ASA