Located in uptown
New Orleans, Louisiana
513 Octavia Street
(corner of Laurel)
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FIVES AND TWENTY-FIVES is one of the great novels of war, the kind of book that comes along only once or twice each generation. It pulls of that rare literary feat of being at once expansive and personal. Michael Pitre, a two-tour Marine veteran of the Iraq conflict, is not just the real deal, he's a literary force in the making." -Joseph Boyden
Please join us for a reading and signing celebrating the launch of New Orleans writer Michael Pitre's FIVES and TWENTY-FIVES, a truly stunning work of art, and a debut novel that Kirkus called “a book in which everything rings so unshakably true. A war novel with a voice all its own, this will stand as one of the definitive renderings of the Iraq experience.”
A heart-stopping debut novel about war and its aftermath by an Iraq War veteran—and an essential examination of the United States’ role in the world.
It’s the rule—always watch your fives and twenty-fives. When a convoy halts to investigate a possible roadside bomb, stay in the vehicle and scan five meters in every direction. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armor, killing everyone in the truck. Once clear, get out and sweep twenty-five meters. A bomb inside twenty-five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead.
Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine’s life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Their mission lacks the glory of the infantry, but in a war where every pothole contains a hidden bomb, road repair brings its own danger.
Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And there’s Kateb, known to the Americans as Dodge, an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture—from hip-hop to the dog-eared copy of Huck Finn he carries—is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country.
Returning home, they exchange one set of decisions and repercussions for another, struggling to find a place in a world that no longer knows them. A debut both transcendent and rooted in the flesh, FIVES and TWENTY-FIVES is a deeply necessary novel.
Michael Pitre is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where he was a double major in history and creative writing. In 2002, he joined the Marines Corps, deploying twice to Iraq and attaining the rank of captain before leaving the service in 2010 to get his M.B.A. at Loyola. He lives in New Orleans.
Join us in welcoming Katy Simpson Smith featuring THE STORY of LAND and SEA, her debut novel.
Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.
Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.
In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.
Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has been working as an Adjunct Professor at Tulane University and is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.