Pardon the pun, but Roxana Robinson's new novel, Sparta, which takes us deep inside the troubled head of a Marine returning from four years of active duty in Iraq, really is a tour de force.... Sparta is a novel with a mission—which in a lesser writer's hands could spell its doom. But Robinson manages to convey the difficulties of a warrior returning to society and dramatize how we fail our veterans without reducing her story to a polemic. She pulls this off by expertly deploying three literary weapons: emotional insight, moral nuance and intellectual depth.
Heller McAlpin - Washington Post
Both lyrical and unsentimental, richly honest and humane.
Wall Street Journal
An intelligent, sensitive analyst of family life.
[After] four years of service in Iraq, [Conrad Farrell] finds coming back to his family in Westchester, N.Y., a disorienting experience.... Robinson brings us deep inside Conrad’s soul, and inside the suffocating despair and frustration that can stalk soldiers even when they are ostensibly out of harm’s way. By letting the reader live in Conrad’s skin, Robinson creates a moving chronicle of how we fail our returning troops.
A Marine commander returns home from Iraq badly shaken in this novel...[and] slowly slips off the rails.... Robinson has convincingly summarized the wartime experience, but only rarely does it feel like she's made a full person out of Conrad, who has the distant feel of an Everyvet.... As Conrad's decline accelerates, Robinson hurries the pace of the closing chapters.... A well-intentioned but flawed exploration of an underdiscussed topic.
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