The Things We Do to Make It Home

Beverly Gologorsky, Author
Beverly Gologorsky, Author Random House (NY) $22.95 (211p) ISBN 978-0-375-50201-9
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 01/01/1999
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-345-42802-8
Paperback - 217 pages - 978-1-58322-884-5
Open Ebook - 139 pages - 978-1-58322-943-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-57712-1
Hardcover - 211 pages - 978-1-86049-699-8
Hardcover - 211 pages - 978-1-86049-700-1
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After a quick nod to Tim O'Brien, the title of this vivid, unsentimental Vietnam novel locates its center right at ""home."" Veterans--""Men in trailers, tents, trucks, cars.... Men in tattered coats, stained pants, worn fatigues....""--and their girlfriends, children and wives inhabit the troubled domestic spaces of Gologorsky's debut. The novel opens at a party in 1973, where a group of vets just back from battle try to reacclimate to civilian life. The festivities are thin disguise for the damage they have suffered, though, as their wives and girlfriends perceive immediately. The plot then skips ahead more than 20 years to examine the long-term effects of the war on the intertwined but unraveling lives of its American victims. One man has literally driven himself to death; two have abandoned their families to become street people; one is dying of Agent Orange-associated cancer; and yet another suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease. Unfortunately, the sheer number of characters somewhat diminishes the narrative momentum of Gologorsky's otherwise moving story. What is gained in the novel's breadth of scope, however, is the opportunity to see these people in all their seasons: bewildered, grieving, bitter and tenderly in love. This perceptive, compassionate account of the long-term effects of the Vietnam disaster on American life are succinctly summed up by one of the characters: ""We've been falling down dead for 25 years."" Agent, Melanie Jackson. (Feb.)
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