Book club guide: "Redeployment" by Phil Klay discussion questions and menu
This month, many Americans celebrated Veterans Day — a national commemoration of service and sacrifice. Phil Klay's National Book Award-winning Redeployment, is a perfect vehicle for continuing the conversation about war's impact on soldier, veterans and others. This moving collection of short stories will offer you dozens of discussion topics, and is sure to affect every reader in a different way.
In “Redeployment,” a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people “who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died.”
In “After Action Report,” a lance corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn’t commit in order that his best friend be unburdened. A mortuary affairs marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious colonel. And in the darkly comic “Money as a Weapons System,” a young Foreign Service officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball.
These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship, and violence that make up a soldier’s daily life at war and the isolation, remorse, and sense of displacement that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming.
"REDEPLOYMENT" DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Which of these stories would work in the form of a novel?
- How did your opinions about the Iraq War affect your reading of this book?
- How did Redeployment change your perceptions of soldiers in the war setting?
- What did this book teach you about non-combatants who go to work in war zones?
- Were you able to empathize with every character in Redeployment? Why or why not?
- How were Iraqis portrayed in this book? Did you find their portrayal fair?
- How does Redeployment compare to other novels about war and veterans? In what ways is it better or worse than similar works?
Our dedicated pairing for Redeployment featured mini thumbprint cookies, a recipe that requires time, repetition and attention to detail. Like soldiers, the cookies appear similar but each have their own quirks and unique details. The rest of this menu follows a similar theme of individuals that make up a larger team. Fill your table with these pre-portioned treats and let your book club focus on a thoughtful discussion.
In honor of Veterans Day (Nov. 11), this month's theme is war and veterans.