Matthew I. Hefti’s A Hard and Heavy Thing is the best novel I have read in 2016.
AHAHT is the story of three friends, two men and a woman, who struggle in situations dangerous, terrifying and mundane. It is written with a gritty wide-eyed realism, but conveys deep compassion for the flawed characters.
No spoilers here, but the narrator (Levi) self-consciously looks back on his history with Nick and Eris, and the choices which led two of them to enlist in the Army. The story lurches back and forth between third-person narrative and Levi’s direct discourse to the reader, who fills in for Nick.
The back-and-forth is purposely a little clumsy, which works beautifully to further the author’s artistic aims.