Bao Ninh: The Sorrow of War aka Thân phận của tình yêu (1991) Literature and War Readalong December 2013

The Sorrow of War

Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War aka Thân phận của tình yêu is the first (North) Vietnamese novel I’ve read. It is based on Ninh’s own experiences during the Vietnam war. We are used to read about the war in Vietnam from an US perspective and I was really curious to see how it would be treated by a North Vietnamese writer. I had a few expectations but none were met. The book was so much better than I had expected. It’s one of a very few war novels I’d say I really loved and if I had read it earlier this year, it would have made the Best of List. Reading this, you may possibly think it’s a perfect novel but it isn’t. It’s flawed but so intense, emotional, lyrical, tragic  and beautiful that I can easily forgive its shortcomings.

The Sorrow of War reminded me a lot of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. The two books would make great companion reads. Both approach the story in a non-linear way and narrate episodes rather than a chronological story. Both books have strong metafictional aspects, but The Sorrow of War goes even one step further. We have a narrator who is at the same time a writer and a narrator who had similar experiences and finds the writer’s manuscript. When he talks about that manuscript he addresses the element that I have called “shortcomings” earlier and reading that one doubts whether it’s a real shortcoming or an effect that Bao Ninh wanted to achieve. Nevertheless, the book jumps back and forth in time and there are a lot of repetitions. Every time a scene is repeated a new element is added but it’s still often difficult to know who is telling something and when.

Where Tim O Brien’s and Bao Ninh’s novel differ completely is the tone. The Sorrows of War is much gentler, full of palpable sorrow and lyrical passages in which Kien, the writer-narrator, evokes beautiful moments. Kien has spent far over ten years at war and is a survivor. More than one platoon he’s been part of was wiped out. At the beginning of the book, in 1976, he’s part of a Missing-in-Action body collecting team. Somewhat later, after the war, we see him battle his demons; alcoholism, despair, nightmares, depression. He’s seen the worst. The depravity and cruelty of people and soldiers. One of the worst things happened at the very beginning of the war and is related to the love of Kien’s life, Phuong. The Sorrow of War is also a love story, the story of two people whose love was shattered by war. To read why and how and slowly discover the details is harrowing.

In the best passages of the book Kien renders episodes in which the kindness of people or the beauty of nature are contrasted with the ugliness of the battlefields. Another element I liked and which makes this very different from any of the US accounts I’ve read is the belief in ghosts and spirits. The violence with which the soldiers die turns many into ghosts. There is one part of the forest that the people have come to call the Jungle of the Screaming Souls. One of the drivers of the MIA body collecting team tells Kien that every time he drives by that battlefield a ghost joins him and wants to talk to him. What is interesting is that nobody doubts that there are ghosts. They are not scared because dead people try to talk to them but because they can feel the pain those ghosts had to endure before they died. The whole area is like one giant graveyard where all the souls are screaming and mourning constantly. Eerie.

Another element that makes this book so outstanding is that neither the Americans nor the South Vietnamese are ever demonized. Every person in this book is simply a human, thrown into this awful conflict for no better reason than politics.

At the end, Kien has written his book and leaves. Nobody knows where he has gone. He’s lost so much, there was no returning to the life as it had been before and now he’s lost as well.

I don’t know how typical of Vietnamese literature this is, but I’m determined to find out. If there are more writers like Bao Ninh I’d like to read them.

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The Sorrow of War was the last book in the Literature and War Readalong 2013. The first book in 2014 is the American Civil War novel The Black Flower by Howard Bahr. Discussion starts on Friday 31 January, 2014. Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2014, including the book blurbs can be found here.

World Cinema Series 2013 – Wrap up and Winner Announcement

While I’ve not been an active participant in my own event, others have made quite a few contributions, especially Novia (Polychrome Interest) and Ruth (Flixchatter).

As I said at the beginning, the person who covered the most countries will win a DVD for up to 25$ or an amazon voucher.

And the winner is Novia from Polychrome Interest, who reviewed eitght movies from 6 different countries.

Congratulations!

Here are all the reviews

Intro posts

Novroz (Poychrome Interest)

Reviews

Austria

The Wall – Die Wand (2012) – Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat)

Chile

No (2012) – Fariz (Vampibots)

China

The Flowers of War – Novia (Polychroem Interest)

Red Cliff (2008) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

France

Those Who Remain – Ceux qui restent (2007) – Guy (His Futile Preoccupations)

Holy Motors (2012) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

The Untouchable (2011) – Novia (Polychrome Interest)

Germany

Three Penny Opera – Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

Lola rennt – Run, Lola, Run (1998) – Akbar Saputra (Me on The Movie)

The Untouchables (2010) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

Funny Games (1997) – Novia (polychrome Interest)

The Edge of Heaven (2007) JoV (JoV’s Book Pyramid)

Indonesia

King – Dhitz (Across Dhitz Universe)

Belenggu (2013) – Akbar Saputra (Me on The Movie)

Iran

About Elly (2009) – Fariz (Vampibots)

Japan

Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below (2011) – Dhitz (Across Dhitz Universe)

Twilight Samurai – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Detroit Metal City – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Shinjuku Incident (2009) JoV (JoV’s Book Pyramid)

Korea

Perfect Number – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Norway

Headhunters (2011) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

Palestine

When Pigs Have Wings – Le Cochon de Gaza (2011) – JoV (JoV’s Book Pyramid)

South Korea

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…. Spring (2003) – Akbar Saputra (Me on The Movie)

Spain

Bolano cercano – Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

UK

The Beatles – Help – Novia (Polychrome Interest)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Novia (Polychrome Interest)

The 39 Steps – TBM (50 Year Project)

Her Majesty Mrs Brown (1997) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

Vietnam

The Scent of Green Papaya – TBM (50Year Project)

Best Books of 2013

P1030826

I was going to make a best of list per genre but finally opted against that and tried to pick one or two favourite books per month. I could have included many more but I did something I haven’t done before – I tried to make the list before going through the blog, which means that all the books on my list were not only books I loved while reading them, but books I still remember.

January

Amanda Eyre Ward – How To Be Lost (2005)

February

Hjalmar Söderberg – Doctor Glas (1905)

March

Anna Raverat – Signs of Life (2012

April

Karen Thompson Walker – The Age of Miracles (2012)

May

Klaus Modick – Sunset (2011)

Elizabeth Haynes – Into the Darkest Corner (2011)

June

Harriet Lane – Alys, Always (2012)

Lisa Moore – February (2010)

Michelle Paver – Dark Matter (2010)

July

Alexis M. Smith – Glaciers (2012)

August

J. G. Ballard – The Drwoned World (1962)

Philippe Claudel – Grey Souls (2003)

September

Jane Austen – Mansfield Park (1814)

October

S.J. Bolton – Now You See Me (2011)

November

Sarah Kirsch – Die Regenkatze (2007)

Eduard von Keyserling – Schwüle Tage (1916)

December

Alice McDermott – Someone (2013)

Tess Gerritsen: The Mephisto Club (2006) or Why I Prefer Rizzoli & Isles

The Mephisto Club

I’ve read Tess Gerritsen’s The Surgeon pre-blogging. It was an OK read, although looking back I can’t remember all that much. This summer I discovered Rizzoli & Isles, the TV series based on Gerritsen’s books. I really love that series, but the whole time I was wondering whether I’d simply not paid any attention while reading The Surgeon or whether books and series were that different. Since I still had The Mephisto Club somewhere on my piles I read it to find out. I must say, they do not have a lot in common. I did recognize some traits of Rizzoli, the detective, but Isles is a completely different character and so are the others. I basically love Rizzoli & Isles because of the friendship between the two protagonists, which is so endearing. None of that is in the books.  They are never together outside of work and there doesn’t seem any special connection between them at all. And all of the humour is missing. While they are two opposite characters in the series, they still have a deep bond, which evolves over time. So, if I want some of that Rizzoli & Isles friendship magic, I’ll have to stick to the TV series.

What about The Mephisto Club? Like The Surgeon, it’s OK, I’d say I even liked it better and I found the idea behind it quite interesting. The book tries to explore one explanation for the existence of evil. While it’s highly speculative, I still found it an oddly compelling idea.

In The Mephisto Club, Detectives Rizzoli and Frost and medical examiner Dr Isles are chasing a serial killer who commits a gruesome murder, leaving symbols and signs at the crime scene. The first murder is soon followed by others and some traces lead to a mysterious club called The Mephisto Club: a group of people who have dedicated their lives to proving the existence of Satan.

The story line that focusses on the law enforcement and the discovery of the crime was quite suspenseful but there are chapters which are written from the point of view of the perpetrator and some from the point of view of someone he hunts. I found that very heavy-handed and thought that this and the prologue gave away the solution. Finding who is the murderer is less important than catching him and avoiding to become the next victim.

I’ve read a few crime novels this year and while this was a quick read, it’s not one of my favourites and I’ll pick up another author next. I’m really looking forward to the next season of Rizzoli & Isles though. It is a crime series but unlike most others, it dedicates at least 40% of every episode to stories about the lives of the main characters. It’s also nice that for once the central team is composed of two women and not like in so many others (Bones, The Mentalist, Castle) of a woman/man duo.

Literature and War Readalong 2014

The Black FlowerThe Killer AngelsMarch

Toby's RoomPrivate PeacefulFear

Undertones of WarMy Dear I Wanted To Tell YouPhoenix and Ashes

The LieFlight Without EndLetters From a Lost Generation

The books for Literature and War Readalong 2011 and 2012 were following the different wars in chronological order. This year, 2013, we focused on different countries and wars we hadn’t covered so far. Next year will be about genre and WWI.

I was afraid a whole year dedicated to WWI books would be too much, especially since a lot of blogs run events for the Centenary, that’s why I decided to start with three novels on the American Civil War, one of which was part of 2011’s readalong, but had to be postponed. After that it’s all about WWI and to make it more interesting, I’ve included different genres: Memoir, letters, historical fiction, literary fiction, a children’s book and one fantasy novel. I hope there will be something for everyone among these titles.

The Black Flower

January, Friday 31 

The Black Flower by Howard Bahr (US 2000), American Civil War, Novel, 272 pages

The Black Flower is the gripping story of a young Confederate rifleman from Mississippi named Bushrod Carter, who serves in General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee during the Civil War battle that takes place in Franklin, Tennessee, in November 1864. Written with reverent attention to historical accuracy, the book vividly documents the fear, suffering, and intense friendships that are all present on the eve of the battle and during its aftermath. When Bushrod is wounded in the Confederate charge, he is taken to a makeshift hospital where he comes under the care of Anna, who has already lost two potential romances to battle. Bushrod and Anna’s poignant attempt to forge a bond of common humanity in the midst of the pathos and horror of battle serves as a powerful reminder that the war that divided America will not vanish quietly into the page of history.

The Killer Angels

February, Friday 28

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (US 1974), American Civil War, Novel, 355 pages

The late Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (1974) concerns the battle of Gettysburg and was the basis for the 1993 film Gettysburg. The events immediately before and during the battle are seen through the eyes of Confederate Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Armistead and Federal General Buford, Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, and a host of others. The author’s ability to convey the thoughts of men in war as well as their confusion-the so-called “fog of battle”-is outstanding. This unabridged version is read clearly by award-winning actor George Hearn, who gives each character a different voice and effectively conveys their personalities; chapters and beginnings and ends of sides are announced. Music from the movie version adds to the drama. All this comes in a beautiful package with a battle map. Recommended for public libraries not owning previous editions from Recorded Books and Blackstone Audio (Audio Reviews, LJ 2/1/92 and LJ 2/1/93, respectively).

March

March, Monday 31

March by Geraldine Brooks (Australia 2005) American Civil War, Novel, 304 pages

Brooks’s luminous second novel, after 2001’s acclaimed Year of Wonders, imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. An idealistic Concord cleric, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or “contraband.” His narrative begins with cheerful letters home, but March gradually reveals to the reader what he does not to his family: the cruelty and racism of Northern and Southern soldiers, the violence and suffering he is powerless to prevent and his reunion with Grace, a beautiful, educated slave whom he met years earlier as a Connecticut peddler to the plantations. In between, we learn of March’s earlier life: his whirlwind courtship of quick-tempered Marmee, his friendship with Emerson and Thoreau and the surprising cause of his family’s genteel poverty. When a Confederate attack on the contraband farm lands March in a Washington hospital, sick with fever and guilt, the first-person narrative switches to Marmee, who describes a different version of the years past and an agonized reaction to the truth she uncovers about her husband’s life. Brooks, who based the character of March on Alcott’s transcendentalist father, Bronson, relies heavily on primary sources for both the Concord and wartime scenes; her characters speak with a convincing 19th-century formality, yet the narrative is always accessible. Through the shattered dreamer March, the passion and rage of Marmee and a host of achingly human minor characters, Brooks’s affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering.

Toby's Room

April, Monday 28

Toby’s Room by Pat Barker (UK 2013), WWI, Novel, 272 pages

Pat Barker returns to the First World War in Toby’s Room, a dark, compelling novel of human desire, wartime horror and the power of friendship.

When Toby is reported ‘Missing, Believed Killed’, another secret casts a lengthening shadow over Elinor’s world: how exactly did Toby die – and why? Elinor determines to uncover the truth. Only then can she finally close the door to Toby’s room. Moving from the Slade School of Art to Queen Mary’s Hospital, where surgery and art intersect in the rebuilding of the shattered faces of the wounded, Toby’s Room is a riveting drama of identity, damage, intimacy and loss. Toby’s Room is Pat Barker’s most powerful novel yet.

Private Peaceful

May, Friday 30

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (UK 2003)  WWI, Children’s Book, 192 pages

Heroism or cowardice? A stunning story of the First World War from a master storyteller.

Told in the voice of a young soldier, the story follows 24 hours in his life at the front during WW1, and captures his memories as he looks back over his life. Full of stunningly researched detail and engrossing atmosphere, the book leads to a dramatic and moving conclusion.

Both a love story and a deeply moving account of the horrors of the First World War, this book will reach everyone from 9 to 90.

Fear

June, Friday 27

FearLa Peur by Gabriel Chevallier (France 1930)  WWI, Classic, Novel, 320 pages

It is 1915. Jean Dartemont is just a young man. He is not a rebel, but neither is he awed by authority and when he’s called up and given only the most rudimentary training, he refuses to follow his platoon. Instead, he is sent to Artois, where he experiences the relentless death and violence of the trenches. His reprieve finally comes when he is wounded, evacuated and hospitalised.

The nurses consider it their duty to stimulate the soldiers’ fighting spirit, and so ask Jean what he did at the front.

His reply?

‘I was afraid.’

First published in France in 1930, Fear is both graphic and clear-eyed in its depiction of the terrible experiences of soldiers during the First World War.

The Lie

July, Monday 28

The Lie by Helen Dunmore (UK 2014) WWI, Novel, 304 pages

Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers. Cornwall, 1920, early spring.

A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family.

Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him.

He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?

Undertones of War

August, Friday 29

Undertones of War by Edmund Blunden (UK 1928) WWI, Memoir, 288 pages

In what is one of the finest autobiographies to come out of the First World War, the distinguished poet Edmund Blunden records his experiences as an infantry subaltern in France and Flanders. Blunden took part in the disastrous battles of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele, describing the latter as ‘murder, not only to the troops, but to their singing faiths and hopes’. In his compassionate yet unsentimental prose, he tells of the heroism and despair found among the officers. Blunden’s poems show how he found hope in the natural landscape; the only thing that survives the terrible betrayal enacted in the Flanders fields.

My Dear I Wanted To Tell You

September, Monday 29

My Dear, I wanted to tell you by Louisa Young (UK 2011) WWI, Historical Fiction, 336 pages

A letter, two lovers, a terrible lie. In war, truth is only the first casualty. ‘Inspires the kind of devotion among its readers not seen since David Nicholls’ One Day’ The Times

While Riley Purefoy and Peter Locke fight for their country, their survival and their sanity in the trenches of Flanders, Nadine Waveney, Julia Locke and Rose Locke do what they can at home. Beautiful, obsessive Julia and gentle, eccentric Peter are married: each day Julia goes through rituals to prepare for her beloved husband’s return. Nadine and Riley, only eighteen when the war starts, and with problems of their own already, want above all to make promises – but how can they when the future is not in their hands? And Rose? Well, what did happen to the traditionally brought-up women who lost all hope of marriage, because all the young men were dead?

Moving between Ypres, London and Paris, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is a deeply affecting, moving and brilliant novel of love and war, and how they affect those left behind as well as those who fight.

Phoenix and Ashes

October, Friday 31

Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey (US 2004) WWI, Fantasy, 468 pages

In this dark and atmospheric rendition of the Cinderella fairy tale, an intelligent young Englishwoman is made into a virtual slave by her evil stepmother. Her only hope of rescue comes in the shape of a scarred World War I pilot of noble blood, whose own powers over the elements are about to be needed more than ever.

“A dark tale full of the pain and devastation of war…and a couple of wounded protagonists worth routing for.”

Flight Without End

November, Friday 28

Flight Witout End – Die Flucht ohne Ende by Joseph Roth (Austria 1927) WWI, Classic,  144 pages

Flight Without End, written in Paris, in 1927, is perhaps the most personal of Joseph Roth’s novels. Introduced by the author as the true account of his friend Franz Tunda it tells the story of a young ex-office of the Austro-Hungarian Army in the 1914- 1918 war, who makes his way back from captivity in Siberia and service with the Bolshevik army, only to find out that the old order, which has shaped him has crumbled and that there is no place for him in the new “European” culture that has taken its place. Everywhere – in his dealings with society, family, women – he finds himself an outsider, both attracted and repelled by the values of the old world, yet unable to accept the new ideologies.

Letters From a Lost Generation

December, Monday 29

Letters from a Lost Generation by Vera Brittain and Four Friends (UK) WWI, Letters, 448 pages

Nothing in the papers, not the most vivid and heart-rending descriptions, have made me realise war like your letters’ Vera Brittain to Roland Leighton, 17 April 1915.

This selection of letters, written between 1913 & 1918, between Vera Brittain and four young men – her fiance Roland Leighton, her brother Edward and their close friends Victor Richardson & Geoffrey Thurlow present a remarkable and profoundly moving portrait of five young people caught up in the cataclysm of total war.

Roland, ‘Monseigneur’, is the ‘leader’ & his letters most clearly trace the path leading from idealism to disillusionment. Edward, ‘ Immaculate of the Trenches’, was orderly & controlled, down even to his attire. Geoffrey, the ‘non-militarist at heart’ had not rushed to enlist but put aside his objections to the war for patriotism’s sake. Victor on the other hand, possessed a very sweet character and was known as ‘Father Confessor’. An important historical testimony telling a powerful story of idealism, disillusionment and personal tragedy.

I think the list is very different from the last years. The one or the other title like Mercedes Lackey’s book is a bit of gamble but I tried to make the list as diverse as possible.

I hope that many of you will join.

Alice McDermott: Someone (2013)

Someone

Someone begins on the stoop of a Brooklyn apartment building where Marie is waiting for her father to come home from work. It is the 1920s and in her Irish-American enclave the stories of her neighbours unfold before her short-sighted eyes. There is war-blinded Billy Corrigan and foolish, ill-fated Pegeen – and her parents’ legendary Syrian-Irish marriage – the terrifying Big Lucy, and the ever-present Sisters of Charity from the convent down the road.

As the years pass Marie’s own history plays out against the backdrop of a changing world. Her older brother Gabe leaves for the seminary to study for the priesthood, his faith destined to be tested to breaking point. Marie experiences first love – and first heartbreak – marriage and motherhood, and discovers how time can reveal us all to be fools and dreamers, blinded in one way or another by hope, loss or the exigencies of life and love.

It took a while until the title Someone of Alice McDermott’s latest novel made any sense, but once it did, I thought it was a brilliant choice. It refers to the narrator, Marie, the Brooklyn-born daughter of Irish immigrants, an unremarkable woman whose life story becomes meaningful because it is so universal. She is just “someone”, nobody special, just a woman who was born in the 20s, has experienced the aftermath of WWII, first love, work for an undertaker, marriage, her fist child, loss, grief and finally old age. It’s a mix of intense joy and pain told in delicately evocative scenes, in which every detail is rendered with a lot of care. Some say Philip Roth is the master of writing scenes. Alice McDermott maybe his female counterpart.

“Someone” also refers to other people in the book. One girl says, that there is always someone kind somewhere and when Marie, after her first heartbreak, asks her brother Gabe if she will ever find love, he tells her that someone will love her one day.

Someone isn’t told chronologically. It moves back and forth in time, picking the most important moments of Marie’s life. If it wasn’t for the writing it wouldn’t be as impressive as it is, but Alice McDermott is a writer you could read simply for her craft.

While reading I was wondering how this book that is so deeply rooted in Brooklyn would compare to Colm Toíbín’s novel Brooklyn. Just like it is the story of one woman’s life, it’s also the story of the changes Brooklyn undergoes. The way Marie’s neighbourhood is described makes you think much more of village life than life in a big city, but then again, that’s typical of the largest cities, in which some inhabitants never venture any future than their neighbourhood. Marie is particularly attached to Brooklyn. Unlike her brother Gabe she never wanted to leave or even work anywhere else. That’s why she comes to work for an undertaker, a job she’s wary of at first. It proves to be an opportunity to learn a lot about life and loss.

Since this novel is told entirely in elaborate scenes, one more wonderful than the next, I couldn’t even pick a favourite. I loved how they were descriptive and at the same time full of hidden meanings and allusions.

It’s one of those books, I’ll read again, some day, just to see, once again, how she did it, how she captured the tiny gestures of people, the way they hold themselves, the way they speak and betray their feelings in doing so.

But I didn’t only love it for the craft. I loved it for its themes – birth, marriage, family, religion, faith, too many to name them all –  and for its quiet gentleness, the belief in kindness and the many characters who all hope for a fulfilled life, but face as much disappoinment as joy and happiness. And I loved it for some lovely insighst like this one on sleep.

All the thought and all the worry, all the faith and philosophy, the paintings  and the stories and the poems, all the whatnot, gone into the study on heaven and hell, and yet so little wonder applied to the sinking into sleep. Falling asleep. All the prayers I had said before bed throughout my life, all the prayers I had made my children say – Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be – the Confiteor if some transgression had taken place – missed the mark entirely. It was grace, the simple prayer before meals, that we should have been murmuring into our clasped hands at the end of the day: Bless us, oh Lord, and this thy gift, which we are about to receive.

I’d love to read another of her novels. Does anyone have suggestions?

Literature and War Readalong December 30 2013: The Sorrow of War aka Thân phận của tình yêu by Bao Ninh

The Sorrow of War

We’ve all seen movies or read books on the war in Vietnam from an American perspective. Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War aka Thân phận của tình yêu is told from the other side. The author was a North Vietnamese soldier and the book is based on his experiences.  The majority of the books we’ve read this year were set far away from the frontline. With this last novel of this year’s readalong, we return to the territory of the soldier.

Here’s the blurb

Kien’s job is to search the Jungle of Screaming Souls for corpses. He knows the area well – this was where, in the dry season of 1969, his battalion was obliterated by American napalm and helicopter gunfire. Kien was one of only ten survivors. This book is his attempt to understand the eleven years of his life he gave to a senseless war.

And the first sentences

On the banks of the Ya Crong Poco, on the northern flank of the 3B battlefield in the Central Highlands, the Missing In Action body-collecting team awaits the dry season of 1976.

The mountains an jungles ae water-soaked and dull. Wet trees. Quiet jungles. All day and all night the water steams. A sea of greenish vapour over the jungle’s carpet of rotting leaves.

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The discussion starts on Monday, 3o December 2013.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2013, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.