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MASH

By Andrew Lovett-Barron
Published in Reading
July 11, 2021
1 min read

I really like anthologies that are maybe better described as assemblages. Series of stories and snippets that together construct a world that is both real and imagined. My favourite storytelling is that which sets the author in both a position of authority (understanding or experiencing the thing being written about) and discovery (or maybe reflection).

A while ago, I wrote about The Things They Carried which is exactly that type of book, and I was really pleased to discover that MASH was mostly the same — just funny (albeit still devastating). Set during the Korean war, MASH stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, and follows the weird stories of three army doctors as they stitch, drink, finagle, and any-number-of-other-verb their way through the war.

The stories are both funny and painful to read, and like The Things They Carried, intermixes a certain degree of surrealism with heartbreak and humour. Having seen a few episodes of the show as well, it’s easy to see how this format lent itself so effectively to TV.

Whether a fan of the show or not, this book is a wonderful read and very quick as well. It feels weirdly light for the topic, but is somewhat subversive in how it wrangles that experience. Enjoy!


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Andrew Lovett-Barron

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