My Life as a Foreign Country

A WAR MEMOIR OF UNUSUAL LITERARY BEAUTY and power from the acclaimed poet who wrote the poem The Hurt Locker.

My Life as a Foreign Country follows the experience of one soldier in one recent war – the preparations, actions, homecomings and infinite aftermath – but then explodes from those narrow limits. Unburdened by nostalgia, hollow sympathy or a journalistic hunger for fact, this account combines the recalled with the imagined, and leaps centuries and continents to seek parallels in the histories of other men. The result is an opportunity to enter the head of a man still stalked by war, to experience conflict with new definition and lasting effect.

UK: Jonathan Cape
US: W.W. Norton
Netherlands: Arbeiderspers



"My Life as a Foreign Country is brilliant and beautiful. It surely ranks with the best war memoirs I've ever encountered -- a humane, heartbreaking, and expertly crafted work of literature."    Tim O'Brien National Book Award Winner, author of The Things They Carried

"Violence that begins as fact mingles by metaphor with dreams,eroticism, history, classical poetry, until the borders between individuals and worlds melt away...Turner is the rare soldier-writer who takes a deep interest in Iraqis - their language and literature, their past, their daily doings, their inner lives."   New Yorker

"Stunning... a triumph of form and content, and a praiseworthy example of how the empathetic imagination can function beautifully in nonfiction writing…History can only be served by this kind of attention."   New York Times Book Review

"His poetic gaze irradiates his world, and he draws us, fascinated and horrified, into the innermost coils of war."   
Washington Post

"A soldier with the soul of a poet has written a remarkable Iraq memoir"    5* Review in   The Sunday Telegraph

"A compulsive, fevered, confessional of war."  Guardian

"[A] fever dream of a memoir... wrathful, wry and incantatory."  New Statesman

 “A story of working through trauma, but above all it's a book about a man, a country,even a species beleaguered by a terrible attachment to war.”   NPR

 “The psychological consequences of war are movingly portrayed... [a]standout.”  Publishers Weekly

"Turner’s voice is prophetic, an eerie calm in the midst of calamity—as precise as a bullet, as all-encompassing as the apocalypse. One question echoes through these pages— How does someone leave a war behind, and walk into the rest of their life? My Life as a Foreign Country holds a mirror up to what propels us, over and over, into those wars, and serves as a reminder that, in the end, war is simply about counting the dead. Achingly, disturbingly, shockingly beautiful, in the end."   Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City  

"MY LIFE AS A FOREIGN COUNTRY is lyrical and restless, both ironic and profoundly empathic, deftly shaped by a writer who believes language can make the world alive to us--even when that world is foreign and full of ghosts, even when we try to turn our backs on it."    Mark Doty, T.S. Eliot Award Winner, National Book Award Winner, author of My Alexandria  

"This memoir enacts the journey of an epic poem where war, and love,and unspeakable grief accrue sensations, stories and names, like a sharp blade upturning earth—a movement that builds and turns until the collection grows speedily into a whole picture, a symphonic sweep, and the reader learns that Brian Turner is a born storyteller."   
Yusef Komunyakaa,Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Neon Vernacular  

"Brian Turner has given us not so much a memoir as a mediation, rendered with grace and wit and wisdom."   
Larry Heinemann, author of Paco's Story, recipient of the National Book Award 

A brilliant fever dream of war’s surreality, its lastingness, its place in families and in the fate of nations. Each sentence has been carefully measured, weighed with loss and vitality, the hard-earned language of a survivor who has seen the world destroyed and written it back to life.”  Benjamin Busch author of Dust to Dust

"I love about My Life as A Foreign Country is its weird laugh-out-loud mood, and its in-the-thick-of-it hyper-sensual ability to capture beauty in the midst of terror. In these pages, home-spun truths sit alongside quotes from Marcus Aurelius, Walt Whitman and The Bhagavad Gita. My Life... is the melted-down language of a dream despatch from a capacious-hearted warrior poet."  Daljit Nagra, Poet