We're Not Here

Tim Mahoney, Author Delta $7.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-440-55004-4
The hero of this Vietnam novel by a veteran, editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and author of Hollaran's World War finds himself in the Mekong Delta in 1975 even as the president announces that no American GIs are there. But this is not the sole untruth in Bill Lemmen's tour of dutyHo Chi Minnie propagandizes Viet Cong victories over the radio waves; a commanding officer laughs when Lemmen says he's in Vietnam to combat Communism: ``Where'd you get a goddamn cornball idea like that? . . . you're here to have fun.'' Lemmen dreams of a time when he will be freed from service, not because he longs for home but because he sees Vietnam as an idyll, ``a storybook land'' where he wants to live as the husband of his Vietnamese girlfriend, Hoa. Both Lemmen and Hoa are fully dimensional, engaging characters, although Hoa, whom the war has elevated from the rice paddies to the lucrative position of barmaid, is somewhat stereotyped. Mahoney's compassionate writing gives, perhaps ironically, greater impact to the horrors he describes. Generally sparing the gore, this novel communicates the anguish of aimlessly waged destruction. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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