Friday, March 04, 2011
Booklist (and Tom Wolfe!) on WHO SHOT THE WATER BUFFALO
Next month, we're excited to introduce WHO SHOT THE WATER BUFFALO, the debut novel from Ken Babbs. Tom Wolfe is a fan, and so is Booklist--this week has been extra-exciting on the Water Buffalo front! Check out what they've got to say.
"Former U.S. Marine Captain Ken Babbs was a pilot who climbed from the SAMissile-killing skies over Vietnam to the LSDippy hippie highs of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters ... and lived. I know, because I saw him afterward. This book is Babbs, Part One." -Tom Wolfe
Issue: March 15, 2011
Who Shot the Water Buffalo?
Babbs, Ken (Author)
Mar 2011. 320 p. Overlook, hardcover, $25.95. (9781590204443).
Babbs sings us an ode to a marine helicopter squadron serving in Vietnam prior to the outbreak of war, when the U.S. was acting as an “advisor.” With pop-cultural quotes and allusions liberally sprinkled amid staccato prose, this first novel may feel to some a cross between Joseph Heller and Hunter S. Thompson.
Part buddy movie, part simple observation, and part existential musing, the novel lets readers see and feel the world it creates as it follows Texan Tom Huckelbee and Ohioan Mike Cochran from flight school through their time in Vietnam. Huckelbee strives to remain sane through Cochran’s unpredictable actions, a grinding schedule of sorties, R and R breaks, base politics, and the loss of flight-school friends. The strain of their circumstances builds to the final, most dangerous mission they fly. Babbs, a U.S. Marine whose service included piloting helicopters in Vietnam, brings eyewitness truth to the table as he pays homage to his fellow marines while showing how valor and duty can be embodied quite differently among one company of men.
— Arlen Bensen