Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: Lotus Eaters

Okay. Here we go, what's it been? Eight months? More...who cares. I have spent my time doing many a thing, none-of-which I am particularly in the mood to share. However, In some twist of events, or rather my halting writer's block, I have been reading a book a week. The latest book to move me was The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli.

I had seen this book a few times and passed over it, skimming the back, having no interest in war. One day, as I was longing for more than my usual chick-lit pop, I opened the book with the interest in love triangles. (That is how People Magazine had described it in a blurb.) This book is more than three lovers. Although their passion and pulling and pushing does bring a reader to the brink. It is so much more. Set in the late sixties and seventies in Saigon and all over Vietnam during the war- the landscape is breath-taking.

The main character is a young, female photography with a secret mission to understand warand the loss of her brother and father. Through her eyes you encounter the very grey line between the enemy and the nationalist and the voyeurs looking to make some money on the carnage. She falls in love with a weathered (Rob Redford-type in my head) photojournalist, assimilates quickly and faces unspeakable truths of a country and it's people I knew nothing about. Throughout her disillusionment, I found that I was carried away in the mist and muck of the adrenaline rush of war and fear and love.

The story unfolds and lays out with tension and suspense and aching heart. I couldn't put it down. I am embarrassed to admit I didn't know much about the Vietnam war other than the award winning movies Hollywood made. This book is thoughtful in its depiction of the waste of war, the addiction of one's passion, the hole of loss and the beauty of love.

Hold onto your heart and brace your stomach. This book will not disappoint.

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