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2 Beaverton LIT- IN AISLE F
3 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

by

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War Cover

 

Awards

Staff Pick

Karl Marlantes's Matterhorn is visceral, raw, and gripping; an exceptionally moving and insightful novel of young men at war. If you love Bao Ninh and Tim O'Brien, you can't fail to be moved by this immensely compelling foray into the leech- and tiger-haunted jungles of Vietnam.
Recommended by Chris Faatz, Powells.com

Powerful. Words melt away, immersing me into a predator-infested jungle. Soon to be a classic.
Recommended by Adrienne, Powells.com

Matterhorn is not only the best novel yet written about the Vietnam War, it's one of the best written by any American in recent memory. Engrossing, compelling, and absolutely devastating. No wonder it took 30 years to write.
Recommended by Martin, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

  1. Featured in Indiespensable Volume 17!
  2. Powell's subscription club offers signed first editions, exclusive content, and unique handpicked gifts.
  3. Read about this shipment on our blog!

Publisher Comments:

Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and James Jones's The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.

Written by a highly decorated Marine veteran over the course of thirty years, Matterhorn is a spellbinding and unforgettable novel that brings to life an entire world — both its horrors and its thrills — and seems destined to become a classic of combat literature.

Review:

"Thirty years in the making, Marlantes's epic debut is a dense, vivid narrative spanning many months in the lives of American troops in Vietnam as they trudge across enemy lines, encountering danger from opposing forces as well as on their home turf. Marine lieutenant and platoon commander Waino Mellas is braving a 13-month tour in Quang-Tri province, where he is assigned to a fire-support base and befriends Hawke, older at 22; both learn about life, loss, and the horrors of war. Jungle rot, leeches dropping from tree branches, malnourishment, drenching monsoons, mudslides, exposure to Agent Orange, and wild animals wreak havoc as brigade members face punishing combat and grapple with bitterness, rage, disease, alcoholism, and hubris. A decorated Vietnam veteran, the author clearly understands his playing field (including military jargon that can get lost in translation), and by examining both the internal and external struggles of the battalion, he brings a long, torturous war back to life with realistic characters and authentic, thrilling combat sequences. Marlantes's debut may be daunting in length, but it remains a grand, distinctive accomplishment." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[T]he Vietnam novel has come of age, and this is a worthy addition to the genre....An engrossing chronicle of men at war." Booklist

Review:

"The battle scenes, at which the author excels, are frequent, brutal, and viscerally energetic, and the skillfully rendered dialog reveals a bunch of strangers attempting to communicate in life-defeating circumstances. In the end, there are no real victors....Obviously not a brief, cheery read, this is a major work that will be a valuable addition to any permanent collection." Library Journal (starred review)

Review:

"Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read." Dan Rather

Review:

"I have never read a war novel, outside of War and Peace, that created such a living, breathing hologram of all sides of any war." Christina Robb, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Review:

“Visceral...Evocative...We feel the Marines exhaustion as they dig gun pits, carry dead and wounded comrades, and nearly die from hunger....We hear the scream of the M-16s, the thunk of mortar shells, the hammering of AK-47s and the crack of bullets. We smell the stink of fear, blood and unwashed bodies....[Marlantes] pitches us into a harrowing narrative we wont soon forget.” USA Today

Review:

“I've laughed at Catch-22 and wept at The Thin Red Line, but Ive never encountered a war novel as stark, honest and wrenching as Matterhorn....By turns, this book horrified me, crushed me and beat me up, but I found it nearly impossible to stop reading. More than any living American novelist I've read, Marlantes made me feel what I already must have known: that war is worse than hell.” NPR

Video

About the Author

A cum laude graduate of Yale University and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. Karl has lived and traveled all over the world. He was Managing Director of a multinational corporation based in Singapore and had his own consultancy practice in the international energy business. He now writes full time and Matterhorn is his first published novel. He has just finished a non-fiction book about the spiritual and psychological aspects of combat and is currently writing a screenplay while still continuing to work on his next novel. Karl grew up on the Oregon coast. He and his wife, Anne, have five children and live on a small lake in Washington state.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 65 comments:

dharmagirl, January 6, 2013 (view all comments by dharmagirl)
I received this book last year from Powell's as one of their Indiespensible books and it sat on by bookshelf until just recently, when our lunchtime bookclub voted for it as our January read. Up until then, I was afraid to read it, thinking it would be hard to read about the Vietnam war, in part because my dad was there and of course because war itself is such a scary topic (the actual being there... no idea how soldiers do it).

As soon as I started reading, I was immediately pulled into the story and eventually could not put the book down, even though it's a very long book (it doesn't read like a long book though - it's not hard to read at all). I loved how the story focused mainly on one character, but also gave us insightful glimpses into so many characters along the way. The book doesn't shy away from hard topics - like racism and classism (if you can call it that) and like many great books, it does not offer any easy answers to the situations characters find themselves in. I also loved how the main character Mellas evolved as the story unfolds - he starts out pretty self-centered and power hungry, only to see those things melt away in importance as he fights along side the other Marines. The author takes you right into the experiences of these characters - what they feel like, what their bodies are going through, how they all handle their fears. After reading the book, I still have no idea how someone manages to put themselves through such an experience without going insane.

I will be thinking about this book for a while, thinking about it and the characters for some time, thinking about the shadow and how these characters showed their humanity (or maybe humanness). I'll be talking to my dad too, trying to understand what happened to him and how he dealt with his experience. And I'll be reading Karl's other work, that's for sure.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Christopher Morrow, Bookseller, January 20, 2012 (view all comments by Christopher Morrow, Bookseller)
This was my favorite book of 2011 and is probably the best war novel that I've ever read. I'm an Army Vietnam vet, and even though I was not out fighting in the jungle, this book brought back many memories, positive and negative, about my time in a war zone. I feel blessed to have been able to chat for 15 minutes with Karl Marlantes at a book event in Florida last year. The book and our conversation made my year.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Jackie Hollis, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by Jackie Hollis)
This book overlapped from 2010 to 2011. Because it was such a big book (and not just in the number of pages). Page by page, Karl Marlantes makes you feel: the tedium, the terror, the loss, the miserable conditions, the anger, the futuility and the transformation of Lieutenant Mellas. My husband immediately began reading it when I finished it because of the way I muttered to myself through out reading it, my visceral reactions to what was on the page. For anyone who wants to know, just the smallest bit of what it must have been like for these Marines in Vietnam: READ. THIS. BOOK.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 65 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802119285
Subtitle:
A Novel of the Vietnam War
Author:
Marlantes, Karl
Publisher:
Atlantic Monthly Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
War
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20100331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Atlantic Monthly Press - English 9780802119285 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Karl Marlantes's Matterhorn is visceral, raw, and gripping; an exceptionally moving and insightful novel of young men at war. If you love Bao Ninh and Tim O'Brien, you can't fail to be moved by this immensely compelling foray into the leech- and tiger-haunted jungles of Vietnam.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Powerful. Words melt away, immersing me into a predator-infested jungle. Soon to be a classic.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Matterhorn is not only the best novel yet written about the Vietnam War, it's one of the best written by any American in recent memory. Engrossing, compelling, and absolutely devastating. No wonder it took 30 years to write.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Thirty years in the making, Marlantes's epic debut is a dense, vivid narrative spanning many months in the lives of American troops in Vietnam as they trudge across enemy lines, encountering danger from opposing forces as well as on their home turf. Marine lieutenant and platoon commander Waino Mellas is braving a 13-month tour in Quang-Tri province, where he is assigned to a fire-support base and befriends Hawke, older at 22; both learn about life, loss, and the horrors of war. Jungle rot, leeches dropping from tree branches, malnourishment, drenching monsoons, mudslides, exposure to Agent Orange, and wild animals wreak havoc as brigade members face punishing combat and grapple with bitterness, rage, disease, alcoholism, and hubris. A decorated Vietnam veteran, the author clearly understands his playing field (including military jargon that can get lost in translation), and by examining both the internal and external struggles of the battalion, he brings a long, torturous war back to life with realistic characters and authentic, thrilling combat sequences. Marlantes's debut may be daunting in length, but it remains a grand, distinctive accomplishment." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[T]he Vietnam novel has come of age, and this is a worthy addition to the genre....An engrossing chronicle of men at war."
"Review" by , "The battle scenes, at which the author excels, are frequent, brutal, and viscerally energetic, and the skillfully rendered dialog reveals a bunch of strangers attempting to communicate in life-defeating circumstances. In the end, there are no real victors....Obviously not a brief, cheery read, this is a major work that will be a valuable addition to any permanent collection."
"Review" by , "Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read."
"Review" by , "I have never read a war novel, outside of War and Peace, that created such a living, breathing hologram of all sides of any war."
"Review" by , “Visceral...Evocative...We feel the Marines exhaustion as they dig gun pits, carry dead and wounded comrades, and nearly die from hunger....We hear the scream of the M-16s, the thunk of mortar shells, the hammering of AK-47s and the crack of bullets. We smell the stink of fear, blood and unwashed bodies....[Marlantes] pitches us into a harrowing narrative we wont soon forget.”
"Review" by , “I've laughed at Catch-22 and wept at The Thin Red Line, but Ive never encountered a war novel as stark, honest and wrenching as Matterhorn....By turns, this book horrified me, crushed me and beat me up, but I found it nearly impossible to stop reading. More than any living American novelist I've read, Marlantes made me feel what I already must have known: that war is worse than hell.”
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