Not Exactly the Front Lines

Congratulations to David Abrams, a longtime contributing editor of January Magazine, whose first novel, Fobbit, is being released this week by Grove Press/Black Cat. Here’s the publisher’s description of its plot:

Fobbit ’fä-bit, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative.

In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield — where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like an office job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy.

Darkly humorous and based on the author’s own experiences in Iraq, Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war.

You can read more about Abrams’ work on Fobbit in his own blog, The Quivering Pen. His backlog of book reviews for January can be enjoyed here. Other of his stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Salamander and The Greensboro Review.

READ MORE:Fiction: ‘Numb,’ by David Abrams” (Salon).

News Reporter

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