Year of the Monkey

Ronald Argo, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (382p) ISBN 978-0-671-66360-5
In this grim, harshly ambient Vietnam War novel by award-winning journalist and Vietnam veteran Argo, a soldier's court-martial for the apparent murder of his Army buddy serves as the frame for a nightmarish flashback. Soldier Russell Payne is an Army reporter whose life is relatively easy until the appearance of Willingham, a wild, undisciplined enlistee who arrives, seemingly out of nowhere, to join Payne's unit. An internal investigation team wants Payne to foster a friendship with Willingham, whom they say is a survivor of a renegade commander's illegal guerrilla squad. What eventually moves Payne to kill Willingham--a fate made known in the first chapter--serves as the author's hook, and the climactic twist delivered by Argo is both surprising and credible. Argo's Vietnam is very much the one readers and film-goers have come to know in recent years--a pestilent netherworld of inhuman living conditions and impossibly murky moral choices. This unsparing story is an effective confirmation of those portrayals. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-671-70771-2
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