Waiting for the Enemy by Brandon Davis Jennings. Kindle Edition, 2014. 44 pages. $2.99, electronic.
Brandon Davis Jennings’ Waiting for the Enemy is composed of five distinct, yet connected, stories examining the life of men linked to the United States’ armed forces. This collection is aptly titled because these stories explore the moments and experiences of war when there is no clear enemy present; however, just because there are no depictions of the traditional battlefield does not mean that this collection lacks urgency. We see the characters deal with trauma, loss, horror, and detachment.
The title story, “Waiting for the Enemy,” best encapsulates all that Jennings is able to accomplish. In this piece, the narrator and his comrade, Rake, are stationed to keep watch in a control tower, and while they are there a camel falls into the barbed wire that surrounds their location. The characters’ respective personalities are revealed and explored in the ways that they react to the trapped and tormented animal. In fact, it is this injured animal that most haunts the narrator years after he returns from war.
Jennings has crafted five pieces that can stand well on their own, but when viewed together create a cohesive view of war’s effects. While all of the connections may not be clear the first time through, this fact allows readers to uncover new discovers with successive reads—each one as rewarding as the first!
-Dani Howell, MAR