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Did you read The Quiet American? The whole begining of the novel was influenced and I think Helen is reading it as well, isn't she? I had the feeling I should read it right away.
I agree, this would make an excellent movie. I only realized after finishing it, how cinematographic it is. The pictures stayed in my mind for a long time.
I really don't know what is the motor behind a photojournalist covering war. Do they really believe they can help or are there other motives?
Looking back I am suprised how much I liked both Vietnam novels we read this year and am tempted to read more. Even the chunky ones I have like Matterhorn or Tree of Smoke. I'd like to read Dispatches next year, that's for sure.


Wow, I can see why this is not an easy read, but it seems fascinating! A dear friend's boyfriend is a war photographer, he is nice and friendly but I always wonder what made him choose this career. Maybe living so terrible events has something addictive (adrenaline rush maybe?). Maybe they can't live a banal life anymore after that.

Liz F

I don't know a great deal about the Vietnam war although I am about to start reading The Things They Carried which is a step in the right direction.
I have met one or two war reporters over the years and got the impression that they started out wanting to be the one to tell the truth about the conflict although there was an element of adrenalin junkie especially in the men.
Both the reporters I knew, one male, one female,gave it up when they felt that they were in serious danger of burn out because they had covered one nasty conflict too far, and they certainly seem happy enough covering more domestic stories.


This sounds quite fascinating. I will add it to my list.
I taught The Things they Carried for many years and found it a wonderful book for a whole bunch of reasons --mostly because it's deeply moving.
I was interested in Liz F's comment about the adrenalin junkies and war.

So much to say. Thanks for alerting me to this .

Buried In Print

I heard a talk with Camilla Gibb last week, about her latest novel, The Beauty of Humanity Movement. It, too, is set in Vietnam, and she deliberately avoided it being a novel about that war. (They call it "The American War", interesting how even that reframes our understanding of it, she said.) It is only 10 years in one elderly character's life and that's in flashback. I haven't read it yet, but it might make an interesting addition to your project, now that your curiosity is piqued; I'll be reading it soon too.


Oh this sounds good. I've added it to my tbr list but I notice that list is getting quite long which is a bit distressing. How will I ever manage to read all these good books?

nomadreader (Carrie)

I read this one in January and absolutely loved it. I don't seek out war novels, but I've had wonderful luck reading them this year. I'm glad you liked it so much too, and after such a stunning debut, I'm eager to read Soli's next novel.


Great review Danielle! this is on the TBR list for sure! Thanks.


Caroline--I haven't, but I did notice that Helen has the book with her when she arrives. I am sure my library must own it and will have to go look at it--I've added it to my list of books to read. I've yet to read any Graham Greene, and strangely I don't think of him as being someone to write about the Vietnam War, but that is one of his famous books I think? I always think of journalists as wanting to document events and as 'truth tellers' but I know that is not always the case. This was an interesting book--I always think a book is a success if it broadens my mind a little and makes me ask questions. I'd like to read both Matterhorn and Dispatches now, too. I brought home Going After Cacciato--not sure when I'll be able to read it though--maybe next month.
Smithereens--I thought at one time being a photojournalist--thought how exciting it must be but now I am not so sure! It would be a difficult life and certainly very hard to see so much suffering. I'm not sure how they can return to normal lives either!
Liz--I had never been very interested--it's been a long time now, but still in a way too close for comfort. I sometimes have a hard time reading about really current events in fiction--it can be very uncomfortable! I loved the O'Brien and hope you enjoy it as well--you'll have to let me know what you think of it when you finish! I've always thought of reporters in that way--wanting to write about what they see in an honest and fair way. I actually started out as a journalism student at university but switched majors. I had enough credits to graduate with a double major (art history/journalism--what a combo), but have done nothing with either ever since! I'm not sure how you could support such a lifestyle for long--it has to wear on you, but I guess there are plenty of journalists who do it.
Elizabethwix--I really liked it--there were a few wrinkles in the story, but all in all I thought it very well done. A little draining to read about, but I guess all war stories are like that. I loved The Things They Carried--I found it very moving as well, too. Now I am planning on reading Going After Cacciato!
Buried in Print--Thanks for the heads up on the Gibb book--I've added it to my wishlist. I'd like to read more about Vietnam that is not necessarily a war story! I had no idea they called the war The American War until I read this book--not surprising really--it's always interesting to see how the rest of the world thinks and perceives things. I'd love to find a Vietnamese author to read, and this makes me want to pull out a book of short stories that I have that are by Asian writers. Another little reading project...
Stefanie--Good question. I keep adding to my list without making many inroads on it--not matter how hard I try, and if you see all the books on my sidebar, you know that I do try hard! :)
Nomadreader--I tend to read lots of books about WWI & WWII, but not so many about later wars. I've been reading a number of good books with the Literature and War Readalong, so I've read a variety of books about 20th century wars--it's been a great project. I didn't know Soli has another book--must go check it out!
Courtney--Thanks. This is one to check out if the story appeals. She did a great job. And it is even in paperback too! :)


I really enjoyed this book when I read it last year. I am glad you liked it, too. Great review!


Kailana--Thanks. I'm glad Caroline choose it, as I am not sure I would have come across it otherwise, but I very much enjoyed it.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this book. We've added your review to the War Through the Generations book review page for Vietnam War books.


I remember reading Caroline's review of this and feeling then, as now, that this sounds a very intriguing book, but one that would be a bit too upsetting for me. I am such a wimp sometimes! But I do know what you mean about how war reading is harder when it is situated in a time and place that is very like our own. Then I start thinking that I couldn't bear another war in Europe and oh, madness lies down that route, because it's not me who gets to have a say in that, right? :-) But the photojournalism angle of this novel sounds like a clever perspective to pick, and as ever you write beautifully about the book.


Emotionally draining is write. Glad you "enjoyed" it, though, and thanks for linking to my review!


Serena--Thanks so much for linking to me. I really need to investigate your site more!
Litlove--It was the sort of book that I enjoyed as I was reading, but I was always a little tentative about picking it up--if that makes sense. There are no happy war stories, so I had a feeling it was going to be an emotional read. After reading this I pulled all the books I have about women photographers out--that will have to be a project for another day, though!
Anna--Enjoy is probably not exactly the right word--but you know what I mean! :) It's a novel I can very much appreciate and she did a good job with it.


This one is definitely on my list, along with The Things They Carried.


Kathleen--I really enjoyed both books and can recommend them both!

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