|The Lotus Eaters|
|The Man from Saigon|
I started reading them both and realized from the author's information and book description that the writers were creating the story from their imagination, (great!) using of course a lot of research material from books, news reports, maybe even interviews. I like historical fiction but the Vietnam War is still so new that, to me, novels about the war really aren't yet in that category. In other words, I lost interest in the books. I think I would have preferred novels based on the experiences of real people.
However, the two novels are popular and selling well. Just not my cup of tea, not yet... Maybe many years down the road, writers can fictionalize the experiences of real people in the war, which they can't do now, as such persons, many still alive, might not enjoy being the subject of fiction.
UPDATE ON THE LOTUS EATERS: I have, since writing this post, interviewed Tatjana Soli and posted an interview with the author, here. For me, Soli's research and familiarity with the subject and those who endured the war put a new light on her book.
From my updated Jan. 20 review of The Lotus Eaters: The title is arresting. especially for those who know Tennyson's poem of the same name, describing the voyages of Ulysses and his band of warriors who are tempted by the sleep-inducing lotus and the people of the land they discover, to remain and never leave the place. The title though may not refer to the Vietnamese in the war, who, on both sides, were far from being drugged as the title would suggest. The title may more appropriately refer to the Americans in the war, and to Helen, who refuses to leave Vietnam, wanting more and more of the heady war experience, reluctant to leave and let go.
Easy to read, I thought the writing could have been more tightly edited, less wordy. It tends to ramble in its descriptions. It would have had a greater impact and punch if it were less so. The content though is first rate and gives the reader a deeper sense of those controversial years of the war.