Publishers Weekly Gives Starred Review to David Zimmerman's Forthcoming Novel, The Sandbox
— filed under: Creative Writing
"Zimmerman is a talent to watch." --Publishers Weekly
Zimmerman, David. The Sandbox. New York: Soho Press, 2010.
A wartime novel written by David Zimmerman, an assistant professor of English at Iowa State University, is already receiving rave reviews.
Operating Base Cornucopia: A three hundred-year-old fortress in the remote Iraqi desert where a few dozen soldiers wait for their next assignment; among them, Private Toby Durrant, a self-described “broke nobody.” Then a deadly ambush touches off events that put Durrant in the middle of a far-reaching conspiracy. Insurgents massing in the nearby hills, a secretive member of military intelligence, an abandoned toy factory, and a mysterious, half-feral child—Durrant must figure out the links between them if he’s to survive. A classic story of a decent man trying to do right under impossible circumstances, this blistering look at military life in “the sandbox” of Iraq marks the debut of a major new talent.
“The Sandbox sabotaged me. I read the first four pages and my sleeve got caught in the lives of these soldiers, and the story was gritty and real and offhand, and so I lost the day and the next, and I’m so happy to report back that this terrific novel offers us both the world of the conflict and another story just as powerful. Zimmerman’s made a fine book.”—Ron Carlson, author of The Signal
Starred Review. "Zimmerman’s remarkable debut succeeds both as a realistic portrayal of the current Iraq war from the American perspective and as an energetic thriller. Stationed at a remote and poorly equipped U.S. army base in the Iraqi desert, Pvt. Toby Durrant worries about his pregnant fiancée back home. After a remotely detonated bomb kills two soldiers, Toby’s commander, Lieutenant Blankenship, recruits him to monitor the accuracy of a translator, and then to interrogate two Iraqi prisoners suspected of being involved in the attack. Well aware of his lack of qualifications, Toby, who made a number of bad choices as a civilian, can’t help thinking something else is going on, especially after the prisoners turn up dead. His difficulties escalate with the arrival of a military intelligence officer, who asks him for information about Blankenship. Readers will empathize with the author’s everyman narrator as Toby tries to survive while maintaining his humanity. Zimmerman is a talent to watch." --Publishers Weekly.