Greg Thomas, January 5, 2011 (view all comments by Greg Thomas)
Dark and Gripping; this novel of the vietnam war is worth a hard look. Having read several books in the Vietnam War in "fiction" genre this goes to the top of the list. Matterhorn presents you with a compeling layered look at the war and the young men sent to fight it. With sections that bring to mind M*A*S*H, Catch-22, Shorttimers and many others, this is a great read and engaging book about the conflict/war.
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.
by Chris Faatz
Powerful. Words melt away, immersing me into a predator-infested jungle. Soon to be a classic.
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 Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
"[T]he Vietnam novel has come of age, and this is a worthy addition to the genre....An engrossing chronicle of men at war."
by Library Journal (starred 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."
by Dan Rather,
"Matterhorn is one of the most powerful and moving novels about combat, the Vietnam War, and war in general that I have ever read."
by Christina Robb, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist,
"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."
by USA Today,
“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.”
“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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