Length: 368 Pages
An odyssey of loss and salvation ranging across four generations of fathers and sons, in the finest tradition of American storytelling.
The year is 1966 and a young man named Vollie Frade, almost on a whim, enlists in the United States Marine Corps to fight in Vietnam. Breaking definitively from his rural Iowan parents, Vollie puts in motion a chain of events that sees him go to work for people with intentions he cannot yet grasp. From the Cambodian jungle, to a flophouse in Queens, to a commune in New Mexico, Vollie's path traces a secret history of life on the margins of America, culminating with an inevitable and terrible reckoning.
Scibona’s story of a restless soldier pressed into service for a clandestine branch of the US government unfolds against the backdrop of the seismic shifts in global politics of the second half of the twentieth century. Epic in scope but intimate in feeling, this is a deeply immersive read from a rising star of American fiction.
Length: 368 Pages
"A magnificent counterpoint of four generations of fathers and sons... Like DeLillo in [Underworld], Scibona wreaks an epic from the lives of ordinary, supposedly negligible men. Scibona has built a masterpiece."
"[Scibona is] a born novelist: He conveys a world in a detail. Scibona can take us into the broken heart of a child lost in a foreign airport, the shattering chaos of a night assault during the Vietnam War and the quiet intensity of a working-class New York neighborhood... Work like The Volunteer can never be one thing only, upbeat or down. It’s teeming, brilliantly."
"Salvatore Scibona’s exhilarating new novel [is]… a searing record of war and the lies people live by… Despite all the destruction and despair, in this novel hope emerges as the wildest high."
"What perfect pitch, what perfect rhythm. These are sentences that are in love with the world and that make us love the world, too."
"Scibona is a remarkable writer and The Volunteer is a remarkable book... It is a war story unlike any other war story, a story of fathers and sons, of family (both biological and manufactured) and of generations of betrayal and abandonment... All of it — all of it — is just so ridiculously beautiful."