1. Paper Doll

    A Novel

    Jim Shepard

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    During the air war over Germany, the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress tries to achieve some competence as a unit before their most catastrophic mission yet

    They call their plane “Paper Doll,” the joke being its suggestion of flimsiness, inconsequence, and perishability, and none of them, from the veterans to the newcomers, feel the bravery they’d like to project. But now, despite their myriad limitations, they’ve been tasked with living through the tension and boredom of base life, saving one another’s lives, and rejoicing at those missions they’ve survived—until they’re confronted by the shock of a mission directed against the ball-bearing factories in Schweinfurt, a mission that will outfly the capacities of their fighter escorts and take them hundreds of miles through the most heavily defended sectors of the German Air Defense.

    National Book Award finalist and author of The Book of Aron Jim Shepard brilliantly illustrates both the lunacy and intimacy of these young men’s lives on the ground as well as their growing disillusionment and terror at what lies ahead. Unsentimental and unsparing in its honesty, Paper Doll portrays with stirring clarity the realities of war and the bonds forged in the face of death.
  2. Pub Date
    Open Road Integrated Media

Editorial Reviews

  • “The most moving and less sentimental novel of the Second World War that I have ever read. It rises to an almost unbearable pitch of excitement.” —The New York Review of Books

  • “A lovely book, as funny as it is sad, filled with life even as it confronts death.” —The Washington Post

  • “Jim Shepard has a poet’s gift for producing the perfect, clarifying image. He confirms here that he is a superb literary technician.” —The New York Times

  • “White-knuckle adventure and heart-stopping drama.” —Kirkus Reviews

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About the author

Jim Shepard

Jim Shepard (b. 1956) is the author of four short story collections and seven novels, most recently The Book of Aron, which has been shortlisted for both the Kirkus Prize and the American Library Association Andrew Carnegie Medal. Originally from Connecticut, Shepard now lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is the J. Leland Miller Professor of English at Williams College, where he teaches creative writing and film. He won the Story Prize for his collection Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which was also a finalist for the National Book Award. Shepard’s stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Magazine, and McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, among other publications; five have been selected for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize.