The Lotus Eaters: A Novel

by Tatjana Soli | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0312611579 Global Overview for this book
Registered by msjoanna of Columbia, Missouri USA on 9/20/2010
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by msjoanna from Columbia, Missouri USA on Monday, September 20, 2010
From Booklist
Soli’s debut revolves around three characters whose lives are affected by the Vietnam War. Helen Adams comes to Vietnam in the hopes of documenting the combat that took her brother from her. She immediately attracts the attention of the male journalists in the region, and quickly falls into an affair with the grizzled but darkly charismatic war photographer Sam Darrow. As Helen starts to make her own way as a photographer in Vietnam, drawing as much attention for her gender as for her work, Darrow sends her his Vietnamese assistant, Linh, a reluctant soldier who deserted the SVA in the wake of his wife’s death. While Linh wants nothing more than to escape the war, Darrow and Helen are consumed by it, unable to leave until the inevitable tragedy strikes. The strength here is in Soli’s vivid, beautiful depiction of war-torn Vietnam, from the dangers of the field, where death can be a single step away, to the emptiness of the Saigon streets in the final days of the American evacuation.
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Somehow, I felt like I should have liked this book more than I did. The story traces the tale of photographers during the Vietnam war, particularly one woman who arrives early as a naive college-dropout with little photography experience who is shaped by the war and becomes one of the premier photographers. The writing was good, particularly for a first novel, and the characters were complex. Nonetheless, I never quite connected with the story or the characters, didn't feel as moved by the descriptions of the horrors of war as I felt like I should feel, and found parts of the book to be really slow moving.

Criticisms aside, I adored Lihn: a Vietnamese photographer who works for both sides, feels wildly ambivalent about the war and his role in it, and tries to bridge the cultural differences to form a relationship with the lead female photographer. In the passages describing Lihn's feelings and inner dialogue, I was completely absorbed.

This would be a great choice for a book club because there is a lot of interesting material for a discussion. I wish I knew other people who had read this because there are several details of the story that I'd love to talk about.

Journal Entry 2 by msjoanna at Columbia, Missouri USA on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Released 11 yrs ago (12/14/2010 UTC) at Columbia, Missouri USA

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Mailed to boomda from the November Nongenre Swap.

Journal Entry 3 by boomda181 at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Friday, December 31, 2010
Received from MsJoanna via the nongenre swap. Looking forward to this read.

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