My Life as a Foreign Country

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Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
5.8 X 0.9 X 8.3 inches | 0.8 pounds
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About the Author

Brian Turner is the author of the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country and the poetry collections Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise. He directs the low-residency MFA at Sierra Nevada College. The Kiss was conceived with his late wife, the acclaimed poet Ilyse Kusnetz, to whom it is dedicated. It was developed from a series he curated for Guernica.


A brilliant fever dream of war's surreality, its lastingness, its place in families and in the fate of nations. Each sentence has been carefully measured, weighed with loss and vitality, the hard-earned language of a survivor who has seen the world destroyed and written it back to life. This is a profound and beautiful work of art.--Benjamin Busch, author of Dust to Dust
[A] praiseworthy example of how the empathetic imagination can function beautifully in nonfiction writing.... Turner has a talent for amalgamating disparate experiences, especially between civilian and soldier, but also between history and the present.... History can only be served by this kind of attention. Man must look at what he has done. And Turner looks, brilliantly.--Jen Percy
Turner is...a poet, and he cannot help but see the world, even the world of combat, in terms of beauty, fragility and heartbreaking splendor.... [His] eloquent rendering illuminates both the shared space and the painful divide between poet and soldier, mission and memory, war and peace.--Roxana Robinson
Turner is the rare soldier-writer who takes a deep interest in Iraqis--their language and literature, their past, their daily doings, their inner lives.--George Packer
Turner's voice is prophetic, an eerie calm in the midst of calamity...Achingly, disturbingly, shockingly beautiful.--Nick Flynn, author of The Reenactments and The Ticking Is the Bomb
A book...about the haunted past and a haunted man... A story of working through trauma, but above all it's a book about a man, a country, even a species beleaguered by a terrible attachment to war.--Tomas Hachard
The psychological consequences of war are movingly portrayed... [a] standout.
My Life as a Foreign Country is brilliant and beautiful. It surely ranks with the best war memoirs I've ever encountered--a humane, heartbreaking, and expertly crafted work of literature.--Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried