Us: A Novel

Us: A Novel

by Wayne Karlin

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like the movie Apocalypse Now , this novel mixes cynical realism with hallucinatory myth as it measures the psychic wounds inflicted by the Vietnam War. The narrative portions follow Loman, an expatriate American vet who owns a bar/brothel in Bangkok, as he plays reluctant guide to Congressman Elliott Mundy in his quest for photo-op gold: living proof of MIAs surviving in the Burmese jungle. Karlin's expert recreation of snipered paranoia yields for long stretches to studied stream-of-consciousness as Loman grapples with a spiritual realm at least as nasty as the opium war in whose midst he has landed. The sad protagonist proves ultimately less interesting than his battle-scarred supporting cast: the bar's circle of crazy vets, pampered politico Mundy and a ruthless ex-CIA operative. Karlin ( Crossfire ) handles a now-familiar tale of U.S. complicity in Third-World carnage with earnest professionalism, but his epic exercise seems a bit forced, its horror a tool for pedantry, its moral as predictable as any medieval passion play. ( Feb. )
Library Journal
Loman, a cynical U.S. veteran and owner of a Bangkok sex bar, survives as part of the post-Vietnam detritus of Indochina. He is caught in a cabalistic web of intrigue when pressured to guide a Congressman into the jungle in search of MIAs rumored to be aligned with rebel opium forces of the Burma/Laos/Thailand Golden Triangle. Once he is there, all hell breaks loose amid betrayal, the carnage of ambush, and the inverted world of impenetrable myth. Evocative descriptions of Eastern culture couple with graphic, unsparing depictions of brutal violence and sexual depravity. A convoluted plot, army jargon, and foreign idioms create dense reading for the average person. Explicit violence effectively conveys the horror and dehumanization of war but makes tough reading for anyone. By the author of other military novels, this is recommended for Vietnam and war fiction collections; otherwise, an optional purchase.-- Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.

Product Details

Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >