Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Lotus Eaters

by Tatjana Soli

The Lotus Eaters had potential, but just never got there. Helen Adams, a photographer for Life magazine, heads to Viet Nam to cover the war, which in itself posed problems for me, since her first time out she didn't even know how to load a camera! But that aside, the author does recover a bit by her descriptions of the land and the impacts of the war on the Vietnamese and seems to be heading in a good direction. Unfortunately, the story shifts focus and turns into a bit of a love triangle, turning this supposedly hard-as-nails female journalist into a love sick fool. And here is where the story becomes scripted and predictable. Helen is smitten with another photographer, Clarence Darrow, who has a wife back home. Clarence's local guide, Linh, has a secret crush on Helen. None of the characters go beyond the stereotypes and neither Helen nor Clarence is very likable or interesting. Linh has a good back story, but not enough to pull this story up.

As I said, the writings on the land, the people of Viet Nam and the war are interesting and well written, but if that is what you're going for, I'm sure you could find it in a better book.

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