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How We Assembled Indiespensable #17

As eclectic as we'd like to think we are, no one on the Indiespensable team considers themselves an avid reader of war novels. Don't get us wrong, there are incredible books about war — but "war novel" is a loaded term with a certain stigma that sometimes puts off readers. That said, once we read Matterhorn, stereotypes shattered. It's a genre bender and, above all else, an extremely impressive piece of literature.

Karl Marlantes spent 30 years writing Matterhorn, his debut novel, and it seems the critics overwhelmingly agree with us that the final product is nothing short of brilliant.

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves:

A decorated Vietnam veteran, [Marlantes] clearly understands his playing field...and by examining both the internal and external struggles of the battalion, he brings a long, torturous war back to life with realistic characters and authentic, thrilling combat sequences....[A] grand, distinctive accomplishment.

Matterhorn has gained many fans here, but one in particular, Chris Faatz, a noble fixture of the City of Books, became an evangelist for it. He personally called every member on the Indiespensable team to make sure we'd read and loved it as much as he did. Chris also requested an interview with the author, and Marlantes was kind enough to accept. We're thrilled to include in this volume that exclusive interview.

(Click here to read Chris Faatz's interview with Karl Marlantes.)

Even in terms of sheer mass Matterhorn is no joke. Though it's creeping up on 600 pages, we're betting you'll be reluctant to put it down. However, should you find yourself obligated to pack it up and travel beyond your favorite reading nook, we hope the enclosed Powell's rucksack will come in handy. It's sturdy enough to tote around a husky hardcover, or any number of husky things — the possibilities are endless.

We imagine that Matterhorn will have the profound effect on you that it did on us and will change your notions of what a novel about war is capable of achieving. Let us know what you think on the Indiespensable blog.

The Indiespensable Team

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A collective of high muckamucks, the Panjandrums largely spend their time in competitive Bananagram duels and negotiations regarding Pie Friday — not to mention painstakingly designing each installment of Powell's subscription club, Indiespensable, with the help of independent publishers and local merchants. From time to time, they find it entertaining to give you a look at the hows and whys behind the what. But, if you're yearning for more, send questions, suggestions, and random anecdotes to (They especially like stories about pets, babies, and pie fillings.)

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