MEDIA: Book Rave –
August 10, 2018 – Tracing the arc of Mr. Walker’s descent into addiction and crime, “Cherry” is a raw coming-of-age story in reverse — a young man drops out of college, enlists in the Army and goes to war, but rather than maturing in the crucible of combat, he comes home shattered, unable to function. He becomes addicted to opiates and starts robbing banks almost on a whim. “It seemed to me such a fierce book, so direct and so uncurated in giving voice to his experience,” Mr. McGuane said. “The narrative mystery as you read it is to sort of try to find hope in all this bitterness.”
“Cherry” fits into a growing body of literature by American veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who have turned to fiction to explore the trauma of war and its aftermath. Their ranks include acclaimed writers like Elliot Ackerman, Kevin Powers, Matt Gallagher and Phil Klay, whose story collection, “Redeployment,” won the National Book Award in 2014. But “Cherry” adds a dark new chapter to the canon, revealing a young soldier’s transformation from hero to antihero, with no sliver of redemption.