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While the horrors of war are never far from the surface, the love stories, as well as Helen's personal evolution, lie at the center of The Lotus Eaters. (A few critics compared Helen's wartime experience to the rush experienced by characters in the Academy Award–winning The Hurt Locker, and the title refers to the lotus eaters who, in Greek mythology, become addicted to the opiate.) Soli's visceral writing captures an alluring, dangerous country, and she excels at conveying the intricacies of war-torn lives. A few critics disagreed about the centrality of the romance and the characterizations, but overall, they had little but high praise for the work. "If you've never read a novel about the Vietnam War, this could be the book for you," concluded the Dallas Morning News.
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. --Kristine HuntleySee all Editorial Reviews
A heartbreaking glimpse into the Viet Nam war from the perspective of solders and journalists on the ground.Published 3 months ago by Retired Reader
I really enjoyed this book. Probably one of the best I have read in a couple of years. The character development is outstanding.Published 4 months ago by John Boehlke
Wow ! Tatjana Soli has written a wonderful book. The story holds your interest until
the last page. It is amazing that Tatiana is a Californian, not a Vietnamese. Read more
Fascinating book. Well written,;focusing on female photographers in the Vietnam War.Published 6 months ago by Maria