In his powerful debut novel, “Spoils,” Brian Van Reet transports his readers to the messy, murky front lines of the Iraq War, and a morally complex landscape, where the U.S. mission of winning hearts and minds is anything but clear. The fog of war is felt by American soldiers, Islamic jihadists, and the innocent Iraqi civilians caught in the cross hairs, and Mr. Van Reet tells their intertwining stories with an emotional intensity and precision that is utterly believable. His book is a testament to the power of fiction to mine deeper truths.
On this Veterans Day weekend, as we honor our military veterans and remember their sacrifices, we’re featuring an interview with Brian Van Reet. He is a veteran himself who served in Iraq, achieved the rank of sergeant, and was awarded a Bronze Star for valor. Spoils is being published in five languages, and has already received widespread critical acclaim, including being longlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the 2017 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.
Mr. Van Reet’s work has appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times and other publications, and he has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters short story award.