That's Something Happened, with its hyper-aware first-person protagonist Bob Slocum and the alternately despairing, hopeful, funny tension of him (and Heller) telling a story that we know will absolutely not end well. The magic that Ben Fountain achieves in capturing his own hero's apprehension of not just what he sees and feels, but what he and we might reasonably be required to make of it is a wonder, and so I recommend this book big-time.
The books' brilliant conceit is the story of a single, and singular day in the life and stateside “Victory Tour” of Bravo Company, or at least of its eight surviving members, including the putative all-American war and media hero, one smart, sarcastic, war-weary, war-amped 19- year-old: Specialist Billy Lynn of Stovall, Texas. Fountain, author of a short story collection called Brief
Encounters with Che Guevara, is himself a Texan, so that any messing with from him arrives from the heart, absent malice. There is no animus in his writing, patriots, not toward the obviously comic villains and buffoons you might expect, demand, be delighted in: sharky movie producer, football team owner, drunken fans, brutish and cynical players, a “Swift Boat” Republican political heavy, and hordes of everyday Americans themselves. Texans, mostly, to be fair. Or unfair.