My awesome reading buddy Stochastic is back with another David Litwack book! WARNING: This is a very intense and emotional book about war.
Read through to the end for a giveaway of SIGNED copies of David Litwack’s books!
David Litwack’s Along the Watchtower is a gut-wrenching blend of fantasy and reality: a war story from the viewpoint of American war hero First Lieutenant Frederick Williams, whose body was shattered in an attack on his patrol by insurgents in Iraq; and a dream world into which Freddie retreats to escape his agony. It is a story of trauma to body and spirit, and of long and painful recovery. In its remarkable two-page prologue, Along the Watchtower paints a deep, rich, dark, and troubling portrait of a man with shocking injuries, and an accompanying historic portrait of his immediate family, their deaths, and the mourning that appears to have killed them. Just what happened to his family, and how it has shaped Freddie, is revealed gradually.
Along the Watchtower also seems to be a metaphor for the wounds that America suffered on and after 9/11. Recalling 9/11 is a good way to describe the story without any spoilers. Thus, here is what I remember: on the morning of September 11, 2001, a friend called: “Turn on the TV.” “I don’t have one.” “Find one. We’re under attack.” Several college friends arrived. We gathered around a borrowed TV. We began to weep. We watched firefighters try to rescue people from the burning towers. We heard, through the television’s speaker, intermittent crashes, and someone exclaimed, “I think those are people. Jumping from the towers.” A tower collapsed. The Pentagon was burning. Someone said, quietly, “We’re at war.” Someone scoffed, “Against whom? Terrorism? Who’s the enemy?” “It doesn’t matter.” We pondered that: we would seek enemies. We would invent them if need be. The attacks, however awful, were only the beginning.
We felt helpless, we felt fury and anguish. For all that we feared terrorism, we were now vigilant. Ironically, I think our greater fear was of our own pending, indiscriminate retribution and its consequences; we would go to war because, given 9/11, we could not do otherwise.
When you read Along the Watchtower, be prepared for sorrow. You will vividly experience the consequences of war, not from the point of view of college students wondering what will happen next, but of a college student who saw and participated in what happened next, in the wars that have yet to end. You will experience, from the inside, post-traumatic stress and desperate fantasy escapism. More importantly you will experience Freddie’s struggle to leave the war behind, and move on to living the rest of his life.
Note: I received Along the Watchtower from David Litwack for an honest review.
Along the Watchtower by David Litwack
Published by Double Dragon Publishing on June 3rd, 2013
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Genre-bender
Page Length: 214 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Book Depository - Goodreads
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A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds…
The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse—and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.
In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission—a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory—and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way out of Hell.
- Tremendous attention to subtle but important detail. It seems that Litwack has carefully researched the experiences of recent war veterans, the severely-wounded in particular, and mixed these experiences into an alarmingly potent cocktail. If you drink it, it will stun you.
- The psychological experiences of Freddie, and his dream counterpart Frederick, are similarly detailed.
- Very intense storytelling.
- This book is exhausting to read. You will frequently need to set it down and take a break. Go do something fun. Play mindless videogames, or go on a quest in World of Warcraft.
Along the Watchtower is a fictional consequence of terrorist attack, and of the subsequent struggle to move on. Along the Watchtower is a story that needs to be told, and while David Litwack is a gifted storyteller, Along the Watchtower is hard to read. It made me weep.
Want to enjoy David Litwack’s moving Along the Watchtower or intriguing There Comes a Prophet for yourself? Enter the giveaway for signed copies! This giveaway will run for two weeks and will be US only due to shipping costs. First winner will get first choice, second winner will get second choice ;-). You have 48 hours to respond to my email.
© 2013, Stochastic. All rights reserved.