Roy Scranton

Roy Scranton is the author of the novel War Porn (Soho Press, 2016) and the philosophical essay Learning to Die in the Anthropocene (City Lights, 2015). His journalism, essays, fiction, poetry, and reviews have been published in The Nation, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, LIT, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Los Angeles Review of Books, Contemporary Literature, The Appendix, and elsewhere. He is also one of the editors of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013). He holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton and an M.A. from the New School for Social Research, and teaches creative writing in the Department of English at the University of Notre Dame.

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24 January 2017

WAR PORN


“War porn,” n. Videos, images, and narratives featuring graphic violence, often brought back from combat zones, viewed voyeuristically or for emotional gratification. Such media are often presented and circulated without context, though they may be used as evidence of war crimes.

War porn is also, in Roy Scranton’s searing debut novel, a metaphor for the experience of war in the age of the War on Terror, the fracturing and fragmentation of perspective, time, and self that afflicts soldiers and civilians alike, and the global networks and face-to-face moments that suture our fragmented lives together. In War Porn three lives fit inside one another like nesting dolls: a restless young woman at an end-of-summer barbecue in Utah; an American soldier in occupied Baghdad; and Qasim al-Zabadi, an Iraqi math professor, who faces the US invasion of his country with fear, denial, and perseverance. AsWar Porn cuts from America to Iraq and back again, as home and hell merge, we come to see America through the eyes of the occupied, even as we see Qasim become a prisoner of the occupation. Through the looking glass of War Porn, Scranton reveals the fragile humanity that connects Americans and Iraqis, torturers and the tortured, victors and their victims.

"What impresses is the brutal immediacy of the writing, its authority. Roy Scranton is a truth telling war writer."
—E.L. Doctorow, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Ragtime and The March

"War Porn is dire, savage, and brilliant, a simmering fever-dream of a novel that's as pure and true in its vision of the long war as anything I've read. Roy Scranton is merciless—and why should he be anything but? War's corruption soaks through every layer of life, and War Porn drives home that truth with unflinching, and ultimately harrowing, honesty."
—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

“Roy Scranton’s searingly honestly first novel is surreal, ultra-real, and like everything he writes from the heart. This examination of the tragedy of what happened in Iraq reaches out to touch of all us. A brilliant literary achievement.”
—Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times Best Selling author of Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy

"This book is truly unique—true in its fidelity to fact, unique in the depth of its empathy. In prose that rises to aphoristic, coruscating brilliance, Iraq vet Roy Scranton has painted, in words, the equivalent of Goya's war etchings. A rare and genuine masterpiece."
—Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, author of The Watch and The Storyteller of Marrakesh



“Roy Scranton makes us feel the brutalizing affects of war on both Iraqi civilians and American soldiers from the inside out. War Porn seduces, then delivers a sucker-punch no one will forget. This is one of the most honest and propaganda-free novels about the Iraq War yet written.” 
—Helen Benedict, author of Sand Queen and The Lonely Soldier

​"​Roy Scranton has created a singular structure to house public and private memory of the long Iraq War. His war stories illuminate, horrify, and seduce. This is a novel of rare ambition—War Porn gripped me as I read it and haunts me still." 
—Hilary Plum, author of They Dragged Them through the Streets

"I have never read a book like War Porn. Roy Scranton writes with unnerving power. There is much to admire here—the meticulous craftsmanship, the hysterical comic passages, the way the sheer audacity of vision is matched at every turn by the innovative skill to carry it out—but what I'm left with at the end is difficult to put into words. It's intense and troubling. It's what all truly excellent literature leaves you with. A sense of something shattering."
—Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment

"A harrowing novel of the Iraq invasion and occupation, WAR PORN exposes the dark heart of that war for all to see. Brilliant and stark, WAR PORN is that rare book that demands to be read out of sheer significance—a stunning accomplishment."
—Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood