Oddsplayer

Joe Rodriguez, Author, Joe Rodriquez, Author Arte Publico Press $9.5 (180p) ISBN 978-0-934770-88-0
The odds for surviving a tour of duty in the undeclared war were not very high, as this first novel by a Vietnam vet makes abundantly clear. Each soldier depicted here confronts not only the unseen enemy hidden in the Vietnamese jungles, but must vie also with his own private demonsas well as with the savage and racist sergeant, Talbot, who has lost all sense of humanity. By using interior monologues, which are sometimes confounding, Rodriguez seeks to relate the psyches of the combatants, what are psyches behind the war, hochiminh's? kennedy's? sj but neglects to fully develop his characters. This company comprises men of various races and backgrounds who struggle with the war differently. Hendrick believes that Vietnam is just an extension of the ``war'' already shaking up a complacent American society: `` `You see war now but were blind before. You'll go back like the rest to playing odds. The ones who scream the loudest go to sleep and dream like everybody else: picket fence, my lovely wife, the kids.' '' Rodriguez's narrative, another addition to the growing body of literature chronicling the Vietnam imbroglio, reveals terror mingled with the blatant bigotry of the era. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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