Ben Fountain read spoke and signed books at the Center for Fiction in New York City last night. His new novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, 2012), was inspired by a football halftime show Fountain saw on Thanksgiving some years ago during the Bush administration and it's gratuitous and troubling mix of militarism, sex and patriotism. It sounds good and is getting great reviews and is hopefully as enjoyable his excellent 2006 book of short stories, Brief Encounters with Che Guevera. Fountain was pleasant and affable and thanked me for buying his books, and even recommended a few good books on Haiti when I asked. He performed the Destiny's Child songs found in the text during his reading and revealed that he has labored over at least one failed novel.
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