The Aardvark Is Ready for War: A Novel

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9780316099875: The Aardvark Is Ready for War: A Novel

A debut novel weaves a compelling, ironic tale about the experiences of an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist Second Class who calls himself Aardvark, on his way via aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf War. 25,000 first printing. Tour.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

An antic, abrasively obscene, and extremely noisy first novel that attempts to do for the Persian Gulf War what M.A.S.H. and Catch-22 did for (or, if you will, to) the Korean War and WW II. The narrator, identified only as ``Greg,'' is a Navy airman specializing in tracking submarines who adopts the code name Aardvark. His real interests lie in capturing the screwy vicissitudes of everyday military life with his ``camcorder,'' and saturating himself in the intricate technological shoptalk of a war whose reality seems contained in TV images. Blinn recounts his likable nonhero's picaresque adventures (mixing it up stateside with a married buddy, hunkering down in Hawaii with a female literature major who despises Dead White Males) with a rough, slangy vigor that's great fun whenever his paragraphs aren't clogged with wearying technical detail. The disparity between Aardvark's flip intimacy with the carnage he monitors (while aboard an aircraft carrier heading toward the Mideast) and the very real terror that overtakes him when he's about to be thrust headlong into military action, isn't especially original, except for his wired, frantic, funny voice. The best things here are the impudent mockery of military logic (``Why practice anti-submarine warfare when the bad guys don't have subs?'') and the fresh comic invention (a pair of old ladies overheard discussing their favorite serial killers; an imitation-American fast food joint that advertises ``Dessert Storm Combos--Patriot burgers and Smart Bomb fries''). The novel's worst features--which, unfortunately, predominate--are its numerous echoes of Catch-22, which include its protagonist's flustered efforts to avoid combat, a comrade's surprising descent into murder and madness, a ship's doctor who calls himself ``Daneeka,'' and a bloody, surreal climax. Joseph Heller may not want to sue, but he won't want to finish the book either. Though this debut has both style and energy, it lacks the savage originality of the predecessors Blinn so clearly admires. (Author tour) -- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Aardvark is an antisubmarine warfare specialist aboard an aircraft carrier during the Persian Gulf War who earned his nickname because he always wears his gas mask. Though he lives for war games and simulations, Aardvark can only deal with war first-hand through his mask. On his last shore leave before his ship sails for the Persian Gulf, Aardvark comes face to face with murder. Suddenly, the war is all too close, and Aardvark goes on sick call to avoid flight time, certain he won't survive combat. He manages to make his "illness" last until the last day of the war, when his plane loses an engine and crash-lands on the carrier. Blinn's first novel is populated with all kinds of characters and situations both wacky and weird. To illustrate Aardvark's confusion, he often goes off on wild tangents, losing the reader in irrelevant description and hyperbole, making for an uneven story. This is war from a slightly skewed angle, the Catch-22 of the Persian Gulf War without the wit. Not an essential purchase.?Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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