"... a compelling read..." —Midwest Book Review
Vietnam War veteran Timothy Patrick O'Rourke discovers the great paradox of war upon his return to the US in 1973: he has left the war, but the war has not left him. He carries with him a profound sense of unfinished business, and struggles to find meaning amid days packed with the responsibilities of a life he no longer understands. Even with the patient, loving support of his girlfriend, Cheryl, Timothy cannot escape the shadow of war. Then he meets the mysterious Hoffen. A voice of tragedy, wisdom and hope, Hoffen has traveled through the darkness and emerged on the other side. Maybe, just maybe, Timothy can do the same. Timothy's odyssey is every veteran's story to some degree, with alienation, hyper-vigilance, substance abuse, relationship problems, guilt, flashbacks, nightmares, and depression as his constant companions. Hope in the Shadows of War confronts the stark realization that a wound that never closes can’t heal, and it proves that while trauma casts a long shadow for survivors, hope is a powerful antidote.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)|
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> Hope in the Shadow of War: A post traumatic novel fought in a mind field of the soul. > > It is kind of intuitive to think that the heat of battle is the worst part of war. However, anticipation before and the anguish afterwards are more difficult to deal with. A mentally and physically wounded Tim O’Rourke is back from Vietnam where he flew helicopters and doing his best to manage the multiple burdens of everyday life. He seems to be on a righteous path to recovery. He has a mother, a girl friend, a job, friends, coworkers, the goal of becoming a professional psychologist, and even a car that will start when the stars are properly aligned. > > The problem is that a cruel fate had decided to kick the supports out one-by-one and leave Tim hanging by his finger nails. We, the reader, as well as Tim have no idea what is in store for him. Will he finally drown in waves of despair? Scoot, a friend, fellow vet, drinking buddy, confident and fellow survivor serves as a makeshift therapist, but even he can’t make everything right as Tim’s world continues to crumble. > > Tim’s professional goal is to become professional psychologist. Perhaps in his studies he missed the chapter on “Perceived Control”. We all have a need to have control of our environment. But even if we don’t, even the mere perception of control can keep us from going over the falls. > > Tim is caught between heaven and hell and which way is life will go hangs on a thread that gets thinner and thinner with each passing day. The thread becomes so thin as to be unmeasurable. As each chapter passes you can hear the clatter as the legs are kicked out from under the table of life. Will he blow his brains out? Will you see him bundled in a blanket with his starving dog and cardboard plea for help on a snowy corner? Will he low crawl out of the swamp of life’s disappoints? > > Who knows? In the future all outcomes are in a superposition where anything can be real. > > Maybe the author, Thomas Paul Reilly, knows. He is a veteran Vietnam War pilot and holds an advanced degree in psychology. Reilly, O’Rourke, these Irish are masters of dealing with adversity and spinning an engaging tale. > > This review by Capt. Roger Hawkins a Combat Photo team leader with the 221st Signal Company (Pictorial) in Vietnam.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Hope in The Shadows of War is an historical fiction novel written by Thomas Paul Reilly. Timothy relived his experiences in the jungles of Vietnam on a nightly basis; everything seemed so real and so now, even though it had already been eighteen months since he had come home. He had begun to realize that he would never really leave Vietnam in his mind, that the struggles and the camaraderie of his brother soldiers would always be a part of, and color, his future experiences. But Timothy did have plans and hopes for the future. He worked two part-time jobs while he went to college and studied psychology. He knew from experience how little help was often available to soldiers who needed to heal the parts of themselves that the war had broken, and he wanted to be a part of that solution. To that end, one of his jobs was in the psych ward of the local Catholic hospital, while the other was in a Christmas tree lot where Dez, the owner, was actively recruiting him to quit school and his other job and come to work for him on a full-time basis. Dez knew that Timothy was having difficulties keeping up with caring for his mother, paying the mortgage on the family home and paying tuition. Timothy knew he could handle all the challenges; however, he was 23 and had survived Nam. But it seemed the forces of despair were arrayed against him, and sometimes he felt as though he was losing the battle. Hope in The Shadows of War is an enthralling account of a Vietnam veteran’s struggle to make up for the years he spent serving his country while supporting an ailing mother and coping with feelings of guilt over a missing comrade. Through his character, Reilly, who is a veteran and a psychologist, shares the sense of dislocation, of lost time, that veterans often experience when integrating back into society as well as the feeling that the war would never leave him. Reilly’s plot is intricate and absorbing, and his characters are well-defined and real. I especially enjoyed seeing the contrasting characters of Dez, the Christmas tree dealer, and Hoffen, the World War I veteran who becomes a mentor and friend to Timothy. Hope in The Shadows of War is most highly recommended.