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Friday, April 29, 2011

"The Lotus Eaters"

by Tatjana Soli, AF, 2010, 389p, rating=3.5

On a stifling day in 1975, the North Vietnamese army is poised to roll into Saigon. As the fall of the city begins, two lovers make their way through the streets to escape to a new life. Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, must take leave of a war she is addicted to and a devastated country she has come to love. Linh, the Vietnamese man who loves her, must grapple with his own conflicted loyalties of heart and homeland. As they race to leave, they play out a drama of devotion and betrayal that spins them back through twelve war-torn years, beginning in the splendor of Angkor Wat, with their mentor, larger-than-life war correspondent Sam Darrow, once Helen's infuriating love and fiercest competitor, and Linh's secret keeper, boss and truest friend. Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American woman’s struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love. Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war. (book's blurb)
This is an investment kind of book.  You invest the time and heart and it will pay off.  A technically tedious read for me but the perseverance to finish the book was worth it.  A superb debut by Ms Soli.  She captured a searing perspective of a historical event by telling the story through the fictional lens of a camera and heart of outsiders. 

In this novel fashion, humanity amidst a war was played out through Helen's point of view that span a decade.  I got a taste of the character of the people of Vietnam.  I learned a bit of the colonizing history by the French.  I was sickened by the horror of war.  I got a wake-up call of a love story.  This book was intense!  In that way, it was its strength and flaw for me.  I got enough to be aware of its amazing quality but it had depth as with poetry ... and you know that I'm a dunce when it comes to poetry. :(

An overall all good read that will leave you counting your blessings.  Thank you Book Quoter for putting this on my radar.  Always a treat to visit your neck of the woods because you have an amazing list of Best Books ...which I consider my TBR list. :)

BTW, this is what I'm doing to kill time waiting for the Royal Wedding! None other than Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Aaaahhhhh!!  I'm caught up with all the excitement!  Bye, it's time!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for the mention. So nice of you.

    ReplyDelete

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