bellreader, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by bellreader)
Though a novel, Lotus Eaters provides an eye-opening read about the Vietnam war through the eyes of a female photographer, a rarity in those times. One comes to see the war from a totally different viewpoint than we have experienced through the media or the viewpoints of soldiers who were there. It isn't a gentle read, but one that is well worth the time.
stargish, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by stargish)
I recently had the opportunity to read Tatjana Soli's The Lotus Eaters while traveling in Cambodia. Her fine writing coupled with the up close and visceral experience of S.E. Asia will stay with me. It didn't seem like a coincidence when I turned the page to the chapter titled Angkor Wat, on the day we arrived in Siem Reap, the town nearest the temples. And when the monsoons rained down on the roof of the Tuk Tuk I rode in with my daughter, I was transported back to Post Colonial French Indochine. If you have an interest in S. E. Asia and its history or The Vietnam War, this narrative is compellingly and uniquely written from a feminine (and feminist perspective). I will read it again here in the dead of a dreary Northwest winter to see if I can revisit the magic.
Abigail Elias, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by Abigail Elias)
The title, which refers to a passage in The Odyssey (which Soli quotes) in which Odysseus warns his men not to eat the lotus in a foreign land because they won't want to leave if they do - provides a sense of the theme. The story is centered on Helen Adams, a photo-journalist who goes to Vietnam during the war after her brother was killed in action there. The book follows her development and evolution as a photo-journalist, her relationships with other photo-jurnalists, with the soldiers she travels with in the field and with the various Vietnamese with whom she works, does trade or photographs. The depiction of the war over a period of time, through Helen's eyes, is raw and insightful. The narrative also addresses how and whether a journalists' photographs portray the reality of a situation. Assuming the story is well-based in fact, it may be tough to read for some who served in Vietnam during the war as soldier, nurse or journalist. Helen's relationships are woven into and are an integral part of the whole story.
catfish, May 31, 2011 (view all comments by catfish)
The Vietnam War as seen through the eyes and lens of a fictional female photjournalist (loosley based on the experiences of the few women photographers who took part in that war)-- this book is a gripping chronicle of war and its devastation on all who are involved: Helen Adams who goes to Vietnam to come to terms with her brother's death in the war, but discovers a passion for the place and for another married combat photographer. Linh, a Vietnamese with a secret past and divided loyalites . And Sam, the veteran war photographer who is addicted to his profession but is torn between his work and Helen. An beautifuly written war novel, a romance, and a story of strong pasions and characters. Hard to put down.
St. Martin's Griffin -
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.
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