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The Lotus Eaters
Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times Best Seller! A New York Times Notable Book!
A unique and sweeping debut novel of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men.
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.
Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American womans struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love. Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war.
A unique and sweeping debut novel that follows an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men.
In the remote central highlands of Vietnam, Army CID officer Eric Rider confronts drug-running and corruption that crosses enemy lines and divides loyalties.
Army cop Erik Rider prefers to fight his war in the saloons and streets of Saigon, so he is less than thrilled at being sent to a tiny American outpost in the remote wilderness of the Central Highlands to take down a Viet Cong opium operation hidden in the jungle. When Rider lands in Cheo Reo, things get complicated. Viet Cong battalions are gathering in the surrounding hills like storm clouds, while the corrupt South Vietnamese commander and his troops sit idle. And sixty thousand Montagnard tribespeople want their mountain homeland back.
Soon Rider is entangled with the local CIA man and an alluring doctor serving the indigenous tribes. As he closes in on the opium fields, he learns the hard way that that not all enemies are beyond the perimeter; someone in Cheo Reo wants him dead. Easy enough in a combat zone where killing is common and loyalties are for sale.
Red Flags is a masterly novel of soldiers and spies grappling with forces beyond their control and striving for the most basic goal in war—survival.
- Winner of UK's James Tait Black Prize
- New York Times Notable Book of 2010
- American Library Association 2011 Notable Book
- Finalist LA Times Book Award
- A Kirkus Reviews Top Debut Fiction of 2010
- Bookmarks Magazine Best Literary Fiction of 2010
In the final days of a falling Saigon, The Lotus Eaters unfolds the story of three remarkable photographers brought together under the impossible umbrella of war: Helen Adams, a once-naïve ingénue whose ambition conflicts with her desire over the course of the fighting; Linh, the mysterious Vietnamese man who loves her, but is torn between conflicting loyalties to his homeland and his heart; and Sam Darrow, a man addicted to the narcotic of violence, to his intoxicating affair with Helen and to the ever-increasing danger of his job. All three become transformed by the conflict they have risked everything to record.
In this much-heralded debut, Tatjana Soli creates a searing portrait of three souls trapped by their impossible passions, contrasting the wrenching horror of combat and the treachery of obsession with the redemptive power of love.
About the Author
TATJANA SOLI attended Stanford University and the Warren Wilson MFA program. Her stories have appeared in StoryQuarterly, Confrontation, Gulf Coast, Other Voices, Nimrod, Third Coast, Carolina Quarterly and Sonora Review among others. Her work has been twice listed in the 100 Distinguished Stories in Best American Short Stories and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Tustin, California and teaches through the Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
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