Alumni News

October 9, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Lachman Reviews ‘My Life as a Foreign Country’ for Brevity

Ohio University poetry alum Becca J.R. Lachman ’07MA reviewed Brian Turner’s My Life as a Foreign Country for Brevity.

Becca J.R. Lachman

Becca J.R. Lachman

“Of all the issues that can tear a family down the middle over time, deciding how to define and live out service has shaped–and divided–the people I love most. Both sides of my family talk about ‘COs’ but mean different things. Until I moved from Ohio’s Amish country to Appalachian Ohio, I’d never passed a U.S. soldier in uniform on the street, let alone ever taught one. Some days, the main crosswalk on our college campus swells with camo, and I find myself holding my breath, wondering what we, America’s taxpayers, might ask these young people to do someday.

“In Brian Turner’s memoir My Life as a Foreign Country, I get an answer. It’s as complex and eye-opening as you’d imagine, a palimpsest of surreal imagery–Iraqi dead lingering in the shadows, dreamscapes where owls and camels beckon, soldiers in training filmed to star in a new video game–entangled with the realities of war.”

“But what are the realities for American soldiers in the War on Terror? Can civilians touch any part of those truths through newscasts, photographs, blogs, or twitter? Using mostly linked, numbered sections, Brian Turner’s memoir shows the recursive experience of one man keeping diligent witness over what brought him into war, and what still leads him out of it.”

Read more in Brevity.

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