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.
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War. A book on war. This is not exactly a topic I leap for when I see books like this hit the shelf. But saying a book like this, isn’t a fair synopsis – because this book is a different book on war… and the draw for me to this book, like a month to a flame – was her. Was Helen and her story.
Helen Adams is an American War Photographer and she finds herself in Vietnam, going to where her brother had died and getting a feel of what the soldiers like him experience on a day-to-day basis.
Helen steps into her role willingly and naively and as the book takes us through the eyes of a photographer. I as a reader, and Helen as a person – grew… Opening up this book I learn that we are beginning with the end in mind …. we know the outcome and then we are taken back into the war to see how we got there. And The Lotus Eaters brings you to the front line. I found the book to be engaging and I wanted to know how Helen and the man she comes to love, Linh, get to where the book begins.
The characters are well brought out and I quickly found myself becoming attached to several of them. I wanted to know where they were going, and if they would survive. Truly an author for detail, Tatjana Soli left nothing to the imagination as I experienced Viet Nam through her words. At times my breath caught in my throat as the details unfolded.
The vivid images that author Tatjana Soli paints of a war will remain in my mind for a long time to come. I will be holding on to this story that was heartwarming and heart-wrenching all rolled into the combined pages of The Lotus Eaters.
Tatjana Soli is a novelist and short story writer. Born in Salzburg, Austria, she attended Stanford University and the Warren Wilson MFA Program. Her stories have appeared in The Sun, StoryQuarterly, Confrontation, Gulf Coast, Other Voices, Nimrod, Third Coast, Carolina Quarterly, Sonora Review and North Dakota Quarterly among other publications. Her work has been twice listed in the 100 Distinguished Stories in Best American Short Stories and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She was awarded the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Prize, the Dana Award, finalist for the Bellwether Prize, and received scholarships to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She lives with her husband in Orange County, California, and teaches through the Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
I received my review copy from TLC Book Tours