BN.com Gift Guide

Prisoners

Overview


Central to Wayne Karlin's novel Prisoners is the story of Kiet, a runaway teenage orphan from Vietnam who is seeking her Black father and whose flight impinges upon the lives of several other characters, many of them Vietnam War veterans. The drama of the interlinking stories illuminates the "seepage of history" and examines the "crimes of war and family and skin" in the Tidewater region in Maryland. Karlin unpeels their histories like an onion, layer after layer, until the violent climax, and a denouement that ...
See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$14.70
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$17.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $3.90   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview


Central to Wayne Karlin's novel Prisoners is the story of Kiet, a runaway teenage orphan from Vietnam who is seeking her Black father and whose flight impinges upon the lives of several other characters, many of them Vietnam War veterans. The drama of the interlinking stories illuminates the "seepage of history" and examines the "crimes of war and family and skin" in the Tidewater region in Maryland. Karlin unpeels their histories like an onion, layer after layer, until the violent climax, and a denouement that offers understanding, hope, and reconciliation.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Karlin is one of the most gifted, passionate, and powerful writers of his generation."-George Garrett, in choosing Prisoners as one of the most notable books of 1998 in the Dictionary of Literary Biography

"As the novel weaves characters and their voices in and out and moves toward a shattering climax in which age-old sin and horror come to bear on contemporary life, the reader realizes that the story of a young girl's search for a lost father is really the story of the world America has created. It is a dark-laced nightmare vision that still, ironically, has room for salvation."-Multicultural Review

"Poetic, powerful fiction."-Mary Ann Carroll, Booklist

Library Journal
Karlin is the author of a handful of titles, fiction and nonfiction (Rumors & Stones, LJ 10/15/96), centering on the Vietnam War era. He is known for his poetic and emotive use of language, and this compact novel does not disappoint, intertwining several personal stories to show how war can have an impact in many different ways. The stories focus on Kiet, an orphan from Vietnam who never knew her father, a black American soldier. She has run away from her halfway house on the coast of Maryland, and the townspeople, many of them with war-related histories of their own, become caught up in the search for her. Karlin presents multiple versions of war and its prisoners. Although the Vietnam War may be the overall theme, we are also exposed to the Civil War, Desert Storm, the Arab-Israeli conflict, racial tension, and even the warlike ambiance of a hospital emergency room. The narratives flow together gracefully, and Karlin's language is finely crafted. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Beth Gibbs, P.L. of Charlotte & Mecklenburg Cty., Davidson, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Like earlier fiction from this ex-Marine and helicopter gunner (Us, 1993, etc.), a complex tale based heavily on Vietnam memories seen through a glass darkly, or pieced together like fragments of bone. In this case, where to begin? The first setting is a Chesapeake Bay hospital ER where obstetrics nurse Mary helps out caring for children who were shot up in a Hardee's restaurant massacre'amid a bloodiness that reminds Mary of her husband Brian's work with a medivac unit picking up wounded in Vietnam. The location then shifts to the nearby site of a Civil War Union prison camp, where Brian is busy sifting a mass grave for bones of the Confederate dead. At a costume reenactment by the Maryland Historical Society, we meet nightmare-ridden teenager Kiet, from Ruth's House for Disturbed Adolescent Females, who calls herself VCWA, or 'Viet Cong With an Attitude'; molested by widower Hiram Johns, Kiet runs off in search of her ghost-soul and her true father, who is black. Now looking for Kiet herself are white sheriff Alex Hallam and his family-obsessed distant cousin, the African-American deputy Russell Hallam. This social and professional crossover of the races, part of the "seepage of history," can be noted also in the crimes of Union soldiers against the Confederates, in the aforementioned siege in the restaurant, in Brian's Vietnam gunnery, in a hidden trench uncovered by his Labrador retriever, in a visit by an Israeli cousin who may have been killing Palestinians, and so on and on, in an extensive layering of crimes upon crimes over the course of decades. And, as always, the present has to pay a high cost for exhuming the past. A demanding, forbiddingly dense, often beautiful visiontakes shape here, with pictures only half-glimpsed as the pages go by.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880684719
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Wayne Karlin, called by Tim O'Brien "one of the most gifted writers to emerge from the Vietnam War," has written four previous novels: Crossover, Lost Armies, The Extras and US. In 1995, he co-edited The Other Side of Heaven: Post War Fiction by Vietnamese and American Writers, which has become a benchmark anthology. He is also the series editor for Curbstone's Voices from Vietnam Series of contemporary fiction.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)