Just finished “My War Gone By, I Miss It So” by Anthony Loyd. It was absolutely breathtaking. At times it’s over written but this guy has a mastery of language that we could all aspire to. He’ll turn a phrase that stops you cold and leaves you with a sort of admiration and clarity. It’s very Fight Club-esque in its grasp of the existential vacuum; an Into the Wild for war. Staggered beneath the tales of a war correspondent are the diaries of a heroin addict attempting to make sense of his habit. And beneath the darkness and despair is a keen understanding of the human condition and the desire for “feeling” wherever it may come.
If you’re impressed with the way Philalawyer juxtaposes self-awareness and a sort of helpless self-loathing, you’ll be blown away here. The sometimes verbose passages are justified in light of the fact that nearly every other war book is underwritten and under analyzed. Numbness or self-glorification, the two poles that capture most battles memoirs are non-existent in Loyd’s work. I would put it up there with any of the Greek epics on war. In fact, I think we’ll see Loyd continue to find resonance as the next generation tries to make sense of the wars of their parents.
If you’ve struggled with depression at all, you can see how perceptive Loyd is to his own condition. It is very, very difficult to put those thoughts to words, to analyze why and how you feel in a way that is possible for others to relate to. Go buy it. Seriously.