Texas Book Festival 2012: Ben Fountain
Ben Fountain was watching the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day football game halftime show a few years back when he says it suddenly hit him: he wondered what had happened to the country where he was born and grew up? He says the combination of entertainment, media, military, and what he calls “soft core porn” on display got the wheels spinning in his head for his first novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
The title character is a 19-year-old Texan serving in Iraq earlier this decade. He and his fellow Bravo Squad members are on a “victory tour” of the United States after some footage of their victory over Iraqi insurgents has gone viral.Their last stop before returning to Iraq is a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day football game where they become part of the halftime show. All the while, a movie producer traveling with the squad is trying to pitch a movie based on their story.
Media, movies, patriotism, war, politics – Fountain says he wanted to write a book about what happens when people serving in combat come home and are put into the swirl of our modern culture.
Ben Fountain will be speaking Sunday afternoon, October 28, at the Texas Book Festival at the Texas State Capitol.