Praise for Be Safe I Love You
“A searing, unforgettable, and beautifully written tale about the corrosive effects of war on the psyche, a contemporary version of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried with a female protagonist.”—Library Journal (starred review)
"Hoffman’s second novel is a fierce and nuanced tribute to women warriors." --BBC 10 Best Books for Spring
“Be Safe I Love You isn’t just a beautiful and unsparing tale of a soldier’s return from the Iraq War, though it is certainly that. It is a reckoning with the moral disaster of that conflict, one that no amount of news and reporting can give us because it requires more than facts. It requires the kind of imaginative transformation Cara Hoffman has accomplished here, turning the story of one young woman’s journey from working poverty to war and home again into a song of lament for a country that has lost its way.”
--Adam Haslett, author of Union Atlantic and the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-nominated You Are Not a Stranger Here
“Excellent . . . describes the troubled homecoming of U.S. Army Sergeant Lauren Clay to Watertown, N.Y., from a tour of duty in Iraq. . . . Hoffman fills her tight narrative with an ominous sense of imminent violence. . . . [a] haunting page turner.”
“Riveting. Be Safe I Love You is haunting and rare: the story of a young female soldier returning home, torn between love and rage, unable to recognize who she once was. In lyrical, assured prose, Hoffman probes the ravages of war on the survivors, the power of forgetting, the defiance of love, and the possibility of forgiveness. Be Safe I Love You will make your heart race, and then break it.”
--Reiko Rizzuto, author of Hiroshima in the Morning
“A gorgeously written, heart-wrenching novel that explores the damage inflicted upon a veteran of the Iraq war, and the varieties of love that ultimately sustain her. Cara Hoffman’s Be Safe I Love You is a tour-de-force of literary suspense by a brilliant, fearless writer — simply the best book I’ve read in ages.”
--Elizabeth Hand, award-winning author of Available Dark and Generation Loss
“Cara Hoffman gets it. She gets what war does to soldiers, inside and out, and she gets what they must face when they come home from war. Lauren Clay is a character readers won’t forget: determined, admirable, and so loving that even as she goes to hell and back, we are ready to go with her. A riveting novel full of compassion for veterans and those who love them.”
--Helen Benedict, author of The Sand Queen and The Lonely Soldier
Cara Hoffman delivers an impassioned story about the effects of war on women—as soldiers and caregivers, both at home and on the front lines.
Lauren Clay has just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq in time to spend Christmas with her family. As she reconnects with her old friends, it’s clear to everyone in their rural New York town that something is wrong with Lauren. But her father is so happy to have her home that he ignores the warning signs—her odd behavior and the repeated phone calls from an Army psychologist. Things seem better when Lauren offers to take her younger brother Danny on a trip to visit their mother upstate. Instead, she guides Danny into the glacial woods of Canada on a quest to visit the Jeanne d’Arc basin, the site of an oil field that has become her strange obsession. As they set up camp in an abandoned hunting village, Lauren believes she’s teaching Danny survival skills for the day when she’s no longer able to take care of him. But where does she think she’s going,
and what happened to her in Iraq that set her on this path?
With all the boldness and intelligence she brought to So Much Pretty, Cara Hoffman ignites the dark truth about war and homecoming in this literary page-turner that is sure to linger long after its surprising secrets are revealed.
Forthcoming in April from Simon and Schuster.