An Evening with Brian Castner and Brian Turner, and guest host Benjamin Busch, author of the award-winning memoir, Dust to Dust. Three veterans of the war in the Middle East, all acclaimed authors, come together on the NWS stage to tell their stories as literature and as a record of an epochal event.
Brian Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East, two of them as the commander of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. Days and nights he and his team would venture forth in heavily armed convoys from their Forward Operating Base to engage in the nerve-racking yet strangely exhilarating work of either disarming the deadly improvised explosive devices that had been discovered, or picking up the pieces when the alert came too late. They relied on an army of remote-controlled cameras and robots, but if that technology failed, a technician would have to don the eighty-pound Kevlar suit, take the long walk up to the bomb, and disarm it by hand. This lethal game of cat and mouse was, and continues to be, the real war within America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But The Long Walk is not just about battle itself. It is also an unflinching portrayal of the toll war exacts on the men and women who are fighting it. When Castner returned home to his wife and family, he began a struggle with a no less insidious foe, an unshakable feeling of fear and confusion and survivor’s guilt that he terms “The Crazy.” (Brian Castner pictured above.)
Brian Turner is an award-winning American poet, essayist, professor and soldier. In 2003, Turner crossed the line of departure with a convoy of soldiers headed into the Iraqi desert. Now he lies awake each night beside his sleeping wife, imagining himself as a drone aircraft, hovering over the terrains of Bosnia and Vietnam, Iraq and Northern Ireland, the killing fields of Cambodia and the death camps of Europe.
In his breathtaking memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, Turner retraces his war experience — pre-deployment to combat zone, homecoming to aftermath. Free of self-indulgence or self-glorification, his account combines recollection with the imagination’s efforts to make reality comprehensible.
Guest host Benjamin Busch is a former U.S. Marine Corps officer who served two combat tours in Iraq. Busch returned to the U.S. to play a Marine in HBO’s Generation Kill, where he pretended to invade towns he had actually invaded in the line of duty. Ben lives in Reed City, Michigan, with his wife, historian Tracy Busch, and two young daughters.
$15 General Admission; $25 Reserved Seating; $35 Premium Reserved Seating; Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID; Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID.
Tickets available online at www.cityoperahouse.org.