Redeployment (Klay)

Discussion Questions
1. Which of the 12 stories most strikes you...and why? Which story do you find most poignant or heart-wrenching? Most brutal or gruesome? Funny or sardonic?

2. Talk about the title story "Redeployment." Does it reflect soldiers' real-world attempts to return to normalcy in civilian life? Is normalcy even possible, given what they have witnessed and/or participated in? What is your experience—either as a returning soldier or as someone who has known, or perhaps read about, a returning soldier?

3. What does the story "In Money as a Weapons System" suggest about bureaucratic bumbling with regards to the government's war efforts?

4. Discuss the story "OIF" and the military's list of alphabet-soup acronymns. Why are such nondescriptive and impersonal terms used? How would you desribe the narrative tone of the  story?

5. How has the chaplain's faith, in "Praying in the Furnace," been challenged by his experiences of the war?

6. What is the overall sense of the war in Iraq that you (personally) take away from these stories? In a Short Form interview, Klay said that there are books in which...

war is where men will glory, or a tragi-comic farce, or a quasi-mystical experience, or a product of corporate interests, or a noble sacrifice for freedom, or meaningless suffering, or mundane and kind of boring, or the place where boys become men, or where men become traumatized victims, or where green soldiers become fearsome killers. I could go on.

   How is war portrayed in these stories? Does the depiction of war differ from story to story?

7. How did Phil Klay’s choice of first person narration affect your reading experience? What did you think of his use of various, and quite different, narrators? does the lack of Iraqi voices in these stories add to or detract from your reading experience?

8. In what ways does knowing Klay is a former marine who served in Iraq inform your understanding of, and emotional connection to, these stories? How might your reading experience have been different if he had not served?

9. What do you think Phil Klay achieved by writing short stories instead of a novel?

10. If you've read other modern war novels or stories (The Naked and the Dead, Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five, The Things They Carried, Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk, Yellow Birds, or others), how does Redeployment compare? Is the war in Iraq different from other wars the U.S. has fought?

(Questions by both LitLovers and the publisher. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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