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Young Skins


Winner of the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award


“A stunning debut . . . The timeless nature of each story means this collection can—and will—be read many years from now.” —Sunday Times

“Exciting and stylistically adventurous.” —Colm Toibín
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
 
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What It Is Like to Go to War By Karl Marlantes
A big, powerful saga of men in combat, written over the course of thirty-five years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran
Matterhorn
A Novel of the Vietnam War
By Karl Marlantes
Grove Press
978-0-8021-4531-4 • $17.00 • Paperback • May 2011
Fiction


Matterhorn is a raw, brilliant account of war that may well serve as a final exorcism for one of the most painful passages in American history. . . . It’s not a book so much as a deployment, and you will not return unaltered. . . . One of the most profound and devastating novels ever to come out of Vietnam—or any war.” —Sebastian Junger, The New York Times Book Review (front-page review)


“There has never been a more realistic portrait of or eloquent tribute to the nobility of men under fire. . . . Marlantes’ story is so intense that there were times reading it when I thought I could not stand to turn the page. . . . Vladimir Nabokov once said that the greatest books are those you read not just with your heart or your mind, but with your spine.
This is one for the spine.” —Mark Bowden, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Matterhorn is a novel of great authority and humanity. It builds inexorably to a devastating and magnificient final movement.” —Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain

“Vivid . . . Elegant . . . [Matterhorn] is the best combat novel that’s been written in quite some time, and it will be years before we see its like again. . . . It tolls in the reader’s mind and leaves a long, haunting echo.” —Emily Carter, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Few war novels give you life and death in the field this vividly . . . Matterhorn will take your heart and sometimes even your breath away.” —Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered

“It’s been a long time since a novel has caused me to shed tears, but while reading Matterhorn, I had a hard time holding some back as I read passages of violence and bravery that brutally captured the fog of war, the harsh reality of combat, and the bonds of friendship forged in battle. It is one of the best war novels I have ever read. . . . Destined to become a literary touchstone for those seeking to understand a chaotic war waged during a turbulent time in American history.” —Vincent Bosquez, San Antonio Express-News

“Engrossing . . . Even though the book is dedicated to the author’s children, it’s also a tribute to the training and bravery of those who fought with him in Vietnam. . . . . . . Deserves a place on the shelf of enduring volumes about the Vietnam War.” —Ellen Emry Heltzel, Seattle Times

“Impossible to put down . . . A generous, terrifying, thrilling, and miserable story of men who deserved better, but gave their all anyway.” The Onion

“A powerhouse: tense, brutal, honest.” Time

"Gripping . . . Unforgettable . . . Cracking its cover is like the click, click, click of the first upward climb of a roller coaster. After that, there's no looking back. It's a brilliant, stomach-lurching ride. . . . Earns a place beside the war classics." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read.” —Dan Rather

“Unforgettable . . . A beautifully crafted novel of unrivaled authenticity and power, filled with jungle heroism, crackerjack inventiveness, mud, blood, brotherhood, hatred, healing, terror, bureaucracy, politics, unfathomable waste, and unfathomable love.” —Christina Robb, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist

“Never have we felt the tactile experience of the war depicted with such mesmerizing force.” —Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Hellhound on His Trail

Matterhorn is that rare modern novel destined to become a classic. Karl Marlantes has written a riveting and harrowing portrait of young men at war.” —Vince Flynn, author of Pursuit of Honor

“These are the words I wrote down while reading Matterhorn: authentic, funny, heartbreaking, infuriating, devastating. This great book crawled under my skin on the first page, and I suspect it will remain there for a very long time.” —David Finkel, author of The Good Soldiers

Karl Marlantes tells a riveting, richly detailed personal tale of soldiers in Vietnam, and in doing so, he brilliantly illuminates the defining war of the last half of the twentieth century.” —Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

“Masterful and thrilling . . . Marlantes conjures grace out of suffering, honor from despair, sense out of nonsense. . . . A timeless work of literary fiction.” —Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers

Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead and James Jones’s The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.
    
Written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war. It is an unforgettable novel that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice: a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.

A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. This is his first novel. He lives in rural Washington State.

To watch an interview with the author, click here.

To read an interview with the author, click here.
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