The Lotus Eaters

The Lotus Eaters

by Tatjana Soli
4.1 139

Audiobook(MP3 on CD - Unabridged, 1 MP3, 13 hours)

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The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

The Lotus Eaters is a sweeping debut novel following the story of Helen Adams, an American combat photographer covering the Vietnam War, as she captures the chaos of the conflict on film, breaks into the "man's world" of war photojournalism, and finds herself torn between the love of two men.

It's 1975, and the North Vietnamese army ispoised to roll intoSaigon. As the chaos of the fall of the city begins in earnest, two lovers make their way across the city to escape to a new life. Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, must take leave not only of a war she is addicted to, but of a devastated country she has come to love. Nguyen Pran Linh, the man who loves her, must deal with his own conflicted loyalties, both of heart and homeland. As they race through the streets, they play out a drama of love and betrayal that began twelve years before in the splendor of Angkor Wat, with their mentor,the larger-than-life war correspondent, Sam Darrow.

Once, Darrow was Helen's infuriating love and fiercest competitor, as he was Linh's secret keeper, protector andtruest friend. But Darrow is gone now, and the "splendid little war" they made their names covering has come to a most surprising, and yet obvious end. As the sun sets on their life in Saigon, Helen and Linh struggle against both their inner demons and the ghosts of the past, illuminating the wrenching horrors of war, the dangerous narcotic of obsession, and the redemptive power of love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441737144
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Edition description: Unabridged, 1 MP3, 13 hours
Pages: 1
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Tatjana Soli's short stories have been widely published and twice cited in the 100 Distinguished Stories in Best American Short Stories and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Orange County, California. This is her debut novel.

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The Lotus Eaters 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 134 reviews.
ArslongaMW More than 1 year ago
This may very well be the best novel of 2010, or of the new century. There isn't a false step in it. Pathos, angst, and the perfectly conceived description of love in a time of war, but love defined by the time, the place and the unspeakable horror of the Vietnam War. The photographer Helen Adams will find herself in a place in time that ultimately defines who she is, and what she will become. Helping to define her in a land on the brink of utter collapse and never ending blood letting is Sam Darrow, and the link that ties them together, the Vietnamese Nguyen Pran Linh. This is a book of truths. About who we think we are, who we want to be, and ultimately, who we become, whether we relish that becoming or loath it's cloak of inevitability. The metaphor, the simile, the overwhelming evocation of time and place is so carefully crafted that there simply isn't a false step in the narrative. The writing is incredibly beautiful and is sustained throughout the book. The dialog is just right on. Whether on the fields of battle, or along the environs of a Saigon just holding on without knowing that it's time is coming and coming in the measured cadence of black pajama clad soldiers with sandals made of the rubber from tires. Slipping like a thief in the night into a house with it's doors left unlocked, are other characters who slide in and out of the novel providing some comic relief, but more trenchantly, an unadorned glimpse into what the times were like for those who covered the Vietnamese war as newspaper correspondents and photographers; and, not to be forgotten for a moment, the soldiers who fought and died in it. Think of your very favorite novel, and its author. This is that novel; this is your novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had never read a Vietnam book [novel], written about a journalist. I could not put this book down. It grabs you from the 1st page to the last. I would recommend this book to all adults. It's a wonderful education on the time America was in Vietnam and personalizes it. Great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very intriguing and compelling book. The kind of genre I am not used to reading. But the title "The Lotus Eater" had me even more intrigued. It took me on a unforgetable journey from the beginning to the end. My mind was racing trying to keep pace with all the images of people, places, cities, countryside, death, and life. The character of Darrow still lingers in my mind, he thought he was invincible. What would he do with his life if the war suddenly stopped. The fact that he had a wife and child waiting for him was secondary to him. Then there was Helen, lived and loved for the moment only. She made reckless choises both in her professional and personal life. I didn't know whether to love her or hate her. The choice she made in the end would probably come back to haunt her. Mixed marriages were not readily accepted in that era. This book gave me an insight into the life of a photo journalist and how they risked their life to capture "the moment" photo and the coveted spot in the front page of Life Magazine. This would catapult them into fame and recognition. Their own exclusive club, a notch above the rest. These were a different type of breed of people, they went behind enemy lines, they didn't wear a uniform, they were willing to risk it all and the ever present strap accross their shoulder carried their most prized possession, their camera. This is book is highly recommended by me and worth a five star rating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished The Lotus Eaters - couldn't put it down the last 3 days! Very well-written - Soli is extremely talented at drawing the reader into the story and the place. I don't have a negative thing to say except that the end left me wanting more, in a good way. I can totally see this being made into a movie in the future.
whiteginger More than 1 year ago
Until the final chapters, this was a five-star novel. The setting--the heat, the back alleys, the foliage--of Vietnam are described so well that I was taken back to the '60s and reliving the photographs that made the war so real for those of us back on the mainland in that decade. This story of a female war photographer is fragmented in the same way that haunting memories are, making it the more poignant. I was mesmerized by the intertwining stories of Darrow, Linh and Helen--until the final chapters. Suddenly, it was as if Soli had been confronted with an abrupt deadline, almost as if she died with the novel unfinished and the publishers decided to print it anyway. I felt cheated. The story was all too neatly wrapped up with a cursory summary of events. That was the end of the story.
rossberliner More than 1 year ago
This novel keeps moving smoothly capturing the sense and essence of war and the people who photograph it. A romantic story is embedded in the gripping, graphic pictures of war as written by the talented author. The characters have depth; the story has resonance. A worthwhile read
Gibran More than 1 year ago
This delicately written war novel unfolds in an imaginary domain where time and space intersect with thought provoking imagery and powerful emotions. It brings out, from the ashes of devastation, the beauty of the human spirit, triumphant and glorious.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a child of the Vietnam era, i can remember watching on tv the last days of Saigon and hearing Nixon announce an end to the war. I never really knew why we were there. In the decades since I have read and read and then came upon this novel a few days ago. I was astounded at its beauty snd hoe my mind was visually drawn into her spider web of culture and smells and people. The main charachters were flawed but believable and one knew that Sam was destined for death. Helen had remarkable courage and yet also an innocence that slowly unraveled in the final years. This is a book for all who still remember this time with questions unanswered.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
"The Lotus Eaters" by Tatjana Soli (Website) is a fictional book about the Vietnam War. Helen Adams is a combat photographer, a woman "in a young man's profession" is drawn to Vietnam after the loss of her brother in combat. Helen Adams' brother died in Vietnam and to her mother's dismay she feels a pull towards the country. Helen arrives without any experience joining a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Sam Darrow who shows her the ropes. Through brazen luck and skill she becomes known by her own right as a brave (and lucky) professional photographer. Helen falls in love with Darrow as well as with her (and his) mysterious Vietnamese assistant Linh who also has his own sad history. Together they go through turmoil and danger, much like the country they are documenting. The phrase "Lotus Eaters" comes from Homer's "Odyssey" and refers for one's will to return home being robbed away from them. This is a clue to the rest of the book and how Helen, who is so used to documenting savagery through the eye of the lens, will find life at the US unwearyingly boring. Helen is emotionally detached from her subject through the lens of the camera. She documents atrocities but feels safe and distanced from behind her instrument. Soli does an excellent job bringing to the reader the uncompromising horror of what Helen sees as well as the hypocrisy of war on both sides. Somehow Ms. Soli has managed to create an authentic experience in a fictional novel. The reader gets submerged into Helen's experiences and her own private war. The strength of the descriptive narrative comes not from an overly detailed account, but just enough to let the imagination ignite. "The Lotus Eaters" is an excellent novel, haunting, confrontational and compelling on several levels. While not written in chronological order, the book is stimulating and thought provoking as it does not deal with politics, but with the people impacted by decisions of world leaders thousands of miles away. For more book reviews please visit ManOfLaBook dot com
llamamia More than 1 year ago
A powerful novel. Not for the faint of heart. Well worth reading.
Gabrielle Manas More than 1 year ago
This novel truly is an amazing read. You delve into a world of both war and beauty in its pages. A quick read and quite the page turner, I would recommend this book to anyone.
JakesMomWI More than 1 year ago
I've avoided reading Vietnam War materials due to violence of the war, but gave this a try and am very glad that I did. The love stories are written with depth and are not predictable. The war scenes are violent, but not as graphic as I had feared. There are interesting aspects presented such as villagers lying about other villagers to try to save themselves, and details about rice paddies that provide more about the country and the culture. I agree that the ending didn't match the strength and intensity of the rest of the novel, but it is still well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant! It doesn't get better than this book. A beautifully talented writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There was never time to examine the reality of the Vietnam war,being too engrosed in my day to day life as a young wife and mother. I have often lookes back and wondered what the reality of that war was, both for America and Vietnam, emotionally and phyically. Answers came through this book with a stark reality previously unrealized. EXCELLENT fictionalized story, rich in sad but true history!
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I really enjoyed this read.  The description of Vietnam and Saigon made me feel like I was actually there -- the heat, the jungle...all of it.  I enjoyed the story right up until the end.  The end felt rushed, and left too many questions unanswered.  What exactly happened? It was just too tidy of an ending for such an excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book from beginning to end
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book its different and one of those where you cant turn the page fast enough half the time to see what happens next