Fobbit: Catch-22 meets The Office

Sep 6, 2012 | Events

Butte author David Abrams travels to Livingston on Wednesday, September 26, at 7 p.m. to read from his new novel, Fobbit (Grove/Atlantic), a satirical take on the Iraq War.

Hailed as an “instant classic” by Publishers Weekly, Fobbit is set in Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base, “the back office of the battlefield—where the grunts eat and sleep between missions, and where a lot of Army employees have what looks suspiciously like an office job.” Described as darkly ironic, the novel is based on Abrams experiences serving in Iraq, following “dyed-in-the-wool Fobbit Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding, who works for the army public affairs office and spends his days tapping out press releases to try to turn the latest roadside bombing or army blunder into something that the American public can read about while eating their breakfast cereal. Like Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit fuses pathos with dark humor to create a brilliantly witty and profound work about the ugly and banal truth of life in the modern-day war zone.”

Abrams himself downplays such comparisons, telling one interviewer that while Catch-22 “haunts the edges… I know I’m not even close to Heller’s mastery.” Instead he hopes to have birthed “the love child of Catch-22 and The Office.”

Matterhorn author Karl Marlantes praises Fobbit as “a remarkable book because it was written by a man who served as a member of an army public relations team in Iraq, i.e. a fobbit himself. It is the rare writer—indeed the rare person—who can step outside of himself and see with cold clarity the humor and pathos of his situation and then bring the reader to the same understanding.”

Abrams’ short stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Salamander, Connecticut Review, The Greensboro Review, The Missouri Review, The North Dakota Review and other literary quarterlies. He retired from active-duty after serving in the U.S. Army for 20 years, a career that took him to Alaska, Texas, Georgia, the Pentagon and Iraq.

Abrams’ reading is free, open to the public, and will be followed by a signing. The event takes place at Elk River Books, 115 E. Callender St. in Livingston.


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