➶ The Lotus Eaters Free ➬ Author Tatjana Soli – Motyourdrive.co.uk

The Lotus Eaters chapter 1 The Lotus Eaters , meaning The Lotus Eaters , genre The Lotus Eaters , book cover The Lotus Eaters , flies The Lotus Eaters , The Lotus Eaters 393c9d2a06be1 A Unique And Sweeping Debut Novel Of An American Female Combat Photographer In The Vietnam War, As She Captures The Wrenching Chaos And Finds Herself Torn Between The Love Of Two MenOn A Stifling Day In , The North Vietnamese Army Is Poised To Roll Into Saigon As The Fall Of The City Begins, Two Lovers Make Their Way Through The Streets To Escape To A New Life Helen Adams, An American Photojournalist, Must Take Leave Of A War She Is Addicted To And A Devastated Country She Has Come To Love Linh, The Vietnamese Man Who Loves Her, Must Grapple With His Own Conflicted Loyalties Of Heart And Homeland As They Race To Leave, They Play Out A Drama Of Devotion And Betrayal That Spins Them Back Through Twelve War Torn Years, Beginning In The Splendor Of Angkor Wat, With Their Mentor, Larger Than Life War Correspondent Sam Darrow, Once Helen S Infuriating Love And Fiercest Competitor, And Linh S Secret Keeper, Boss And Truest Friend Tatjana Soli Paints A Searing Portrait Of An American Woman S Struggle And Triumph In Vietnam, A Stirring Canvas Contrasting The Wrenching Horror Of War And The Treacherous Narcotic Of Obsession With The Redemptive Power Of Love Readers Will Be Transfixed By This Stunning Novel Of Passion, Duty And Ambition Among The Ruins Of War

10 thoughts on “The Lotus Eaters

  1. says:

    In the final days of a falling Saigon, this story is told of photographers covering the war But importantly, it s told from the point of view of a woman photographer Helen Adams is young, she drops out of college and goes to Vietnam as she wants to go before the war is over Also, her brother was killed there and she wants to find out about it Her story is told of her two lovers and fellow photographers Linh, a local Vietnamese man who is haunted by his past and Darrow, an American who thrives on capturing the war on film.What I liked about this one is that it was told from the point of view of a woman Back during this time, it seemed almost unheard of Helen is young and naive and you watch her grow through the telling of her story You watch how she changes so much as she is so conflicted by everything that she sees At times, I was so aggravated by her She shows up, not knowing too much about photography, and is embedded with troops, taking photos They are worried about seeing a woman hurt in war and how it would effect the men She arrives and immediately jumps into Darrows bed, knowing he s a married man She starts to get stronger and some of the stuff she shoots is incredible But the first sign of something difficult mentally for her, she flees But no matter how much I was disappointed in her actions, I still liked her and wanted her to succeed She then turns to Linh, where she transforms even All of the characters are transformed by the war.I have never read a book around this time area and at times I felt lost not know the history But that s just me, wanting to learn about this history It s a fascinating story and one that made me gasp out loud at one point, which is rare for me I listened to the audio and loved it Listening to it made me think this is such a beautiful story with horrors included Such a strange mix I m so glad I read this one and look forward to reading of this time period.

  2. says:

    Initially set against the fall of Saigon and then flashing back to the early 1960 s, Tatjana Soli s The Lotus Eaters evokes the hypnotic horrors of war set against a lush, culturally rich landscape that lured many photojournalists during the Vietnam War Falling victim to the intoxicating mix of adrenaline, fear, curiosity, and self righteousness, they just as the lotus eaters of Homer s The Odyssey forsake their homelands as war becomes their passion and their comfort.The novel focuses on Helen Adams, a naive, uninitiated field photographer whose desire to connect with the military life of her father and her brother leads her to Saigon A born tomboy, Helen has always resented being shut out of the masculine pursuits she longed to be a part of and quickly finds her experience in Vietnam is to be no exception As a woman in war, she s viewed as a curiosity, a sexual object, a harbinger of bad luck, an inconvenience However, her tenacity and her willingness to stoically endure the soldiers hardships begins to earn her a grudging respect It also helps that she s willing to understand and experience Vietnam in a way other Americans aren t to look beyond the headlines and the government shading of events to know its people and its culture That was the experience in Vietnam things in plain view, their meaning visible only to the initiated 7.Soli s characterization of Helen is presented as a woman who is constantly evolving, growing as she tests herself in the ultimate masculine sphere and as she confronts her own hypocrisies in pursuing one iconic image that will capture all the horror, all the waste, and all the courage of war Helen knows the power of photographs to change the hearts and minds that really matter, those of the Americans back home, and, as such, Pictures could not be accessories to the story evidence they had to contain the story within the frame the best picture contained a whole war within one frame 118 At the same time, she knows her craving for such a photograph is that of an addict s and will never be sated as soon as she has a photograph that seems to define everything she wants to communicate, she knows she ll take increasingly dangerous risks as she tries to top previous successes The novel also presents the stories of two men who will help define Helen s life in Vietnam Sam Darrow, a veteran war photographer whose only home is in conflict, and his aide, Linh, a photographer and translator who has belonged to and been damaged by both Vietnamese armies Through these two men, Helen learns the toll war takes on those tasked with documenting its reality While not equal to the burden of the young men in battle, the weight of being the one behind the lens, bearing witness to atrocity after atrocity, comes with its own spiritual price.As lovely as the cover is, it s also deceiving It s clearly marketed to a female historical fiction audience, so I feared it would be a torrid love story set against a Vietnam that was as authentic as a 1940 s sound stage, with maybe a water buffalo roaming through for a dash of authenticity While there is a realistic romantic element involved, the real love story is between the photographers and the war Soli has done her research and the Vietnam in her novel is fully realized its beauty, its filth, its people, its cities, and its jungles Her war scenes are harrowing, brutal and realistic, and seeing them through the eyes of a female photojournalist is a uniquely satisfying point of view for a war novel Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder and at Shelf Inflicted

  3. says:

    Wow, this is a great debut novel The story takes place during the Vietnam War, towards the end In the novel, Helen Adams is the first female journalist to be allowed into combat areas This is a richly imagined novel with breathtaking details of the country so vivid I could envision it.The characters were well drawn and I felt that I could really understand how they felt and acted.There are many different relationships that make this book great The story of the war of course is tragic This is a great read for anyone who loves creative writing It is historical fiction based on fact, as noted by the author, the characters are just incedible.I would recommend this book to everyone

  4. says:

    My thoughts This one punched me deep in my gut.I literally sobbed for 15 minutes after I finished the last page All of these emotions were swirling within my chest and brain and I needed to release them with a good cry I am just beginning to understand why my two uncles that served in Vietnam never spoke of their experience Who would want to revisit those horrors, to have those images dredged up again, to make them real once I felt shell shocked and wounded deep in my soul by the evil of war and how it brings out the worst in people This book literally took me to the steamy and pungent jungles of Vietnam, the dirty streets of Saigon, and into a world that I couldn t begin to fathom The characters were alive and jumped off of the pages I found myself so engrossed in this story that I didn t want to put it down This book is a powerhouse and will not leave my memory any time soon I understand that some people can not read about war and all of the horrible things that were inflicted upon our soldiers and the people of Vietnam, but to me this is such an important book to read as it took me deep into Vietnam and gave me perspectives from both sides This is an author to watch for as she seriously understands her audience and delivers a book that will move you beyond words Trust me when I say, READ IT

  5. says:

    I had such high hopes for this book Basically it s the story of a young woman combat photographer in Vietnam towards the end of the war, Helen Adams, and the two men she loves Sam Darrow a seasoned photographer who has a reputation , and Linh the Vietnamese man who is Darrow s and then Helen s assistant.I didn t find anything about the relationships believable I didn t feel the passion or tenderness or compassion or love between any of them The mark of good writing is that the author will show, not tell Soli tells the reader over and over that these people love one another, but she doesn t show us this In fact, she shows us the opposite Each of them seems closed off emotionally from anyone else each follows his her own agenda without regard to the feelings of anyone else each of them behaves poorly to say the least in relation to the others I thought they took foolish chances and I really didn t care what happened to any of them I just wanted it to be over with so I could get on with another book So why did I give it 2 stars Soli includes a long bibliography of works she used to research Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the time period portrayed in the book I don t know if she ever actually visited the country, but if she has not, then kudos to her for managing to convey such a sense of the atmosphere of the place I could smell the tropical jungle, feel the torpidity brought on by heat and fatigue, and hear the din of traffic and busy city streets I give her 2 stars for creating this atmosphere, but I really don t recommend the book.

  6. says:

    Wow Can this really be Tatjana Soli s first novel She pierces right through all the bullshit about war in general and the Vietnam debacle in particular I ve learned to steer clear of most novels about Vietnam because there s usually too much of the macho jungle combat detail I m glad I made an exception for The Lotus Eaters Written by a woman about a woman a photographer who shows up in Vietnam in 1965 with no idea what she s doing or how it will change her life I m glad I stayed with this one The first chapter was long and confusing and I almost gave up, but it gets much better after that.

  7. says:

    I watched the film The Hurt Locker recently I have had difficulty putting my thoughts onto paper about it and so you haven t seen a review One thing in particular that stood out for me, however, was the scene where Staff Sergeant James is grocery shopping, followed by a scene of him trying to talk to his wife about his experiences in the Iraq War as she prepares a meal These are very revealing scenes The soldier goes from intense and life threatening situations in Iraq to the every day monotony of life back home His wife is not able to understand what he has been through, everything he has seen.The violence and shared horrors, the adrenalin rush, the camaraderie and strong bonds that form between the soldiers, and the sense of duty and honor War can change a person It can make adjusting to home life upon return difficult It is not uncommon for soldiers to return to battle even when they don t have to Some feel most comfortable there in a way many of us who haven t experienced it can t even begin to understand I thought of this as I read The Lotus Eaters A different war, a different time period A novel about photojournalists rather than a movie about soldiers The pull of war, of danger, seduces some almost like a drug It makes the title of Tatjana Soli s novel all the fitting.I was drawn to Soli s The Lotus Eaters because of the setting The novel is set in Vietnam during the Vietnam War It is the story of an American female photojournalist, Helen Adams, who is set on following in her father and brother s footsteps, wanting to know how her brother died and to experience some of what he must have as a soldier in the Vietnam War It is also the story of Linh, a Vietnamese man who has lost everything and who is doing what he can to survive And then there is Sam Darrow, an American photojournalist whose entire life is wrapped up in shooting wars.The novel opens as Helen is making her way home to her apartment in Saigon where Linh, bedridden and in need of medical care, is waiting The Americans are fleeing the city as the Communists take over, the final sign of a war lost Helen struggles with whether to leave with Linh or stay to see the changeover first hand, capturing it on film Her decision made, the novel, and her thoughts, shift to the past and the reader is taken to the moment she first arrived in Saigon and from there her story and that of Linh s and Darrow s unfold.I fell in love with this novel from the very first word My biggest regret is that I read the novel without my reading journal handy and so my notes are few, and I don t have a record of the many quotations that especially moved me The author s writing is beautiful There was a melancholy and underlying tension about it which helped to create the tone of the novel None of the characters in the novel are perfect, each one flawed and multi faceted They are tormented but driven, eager but at times reluctant.Helen changes quite a bit during her time in Vietnam She arrives as a naive young woman, eager to make a name for herself and prove she can hold her own in a man s world She has her work cut out for her and, even at her most fearful, she is courageous As the novel progresses, Helen grows stronger and wiser but there is a recklessness there too, much like that of veteran photographer, Darrow, who finds comfort and meaning in war He sees something in Helen, a hint himself in his younger years, but also someone who may finally be his match.Linh s story intrigued me He is Darrow s assistant and proves to be an invaluable companion He is the biggest mystery of all throughout the novel, but as his personal story unfolds, I was even drawn to him, and I couldn t help but wish I had known him in real life.Through the author s words and the characters eyes, I could understand their love hate relationship with Vietnam It is a beautiful country The Vietnamese people were tenacious and adaptable They had to be given the circumstances of the country s history The author s knowledge and interest in Vietnam shined through on every page She included a bibliography at the end of the book for those interested in reading about the country While her story is fiction, there is truth woven in Soli did not take sides but presented a realistic and complicated picture of events in Vietnam at the time.The Lotus Eaters is beautiful, dark, and thought provoking War is cruel and Soli does not hold back from sharing the ugly side of it Within it too, however, are sparks of humanity and compassion The author does not leave that out either In fact, it is often those moments, that help Helen through the darker moments The Lotus Eaters is an amazing novel a love story just as much as it is about the Vietnam War and the impact war can have on those touched by it After having just finished it, I am still hesitant to pick up another book, still caught in its spell.Source Book provided by publisher for review.

  8. says:

    The perfect title As readers, we give it little thought By the time we see a book in its finished state, it s a done deal We consider its cover, the heft in our hands as we ponder the accolades on the back jacket or peruse the synopsis on the inside flap I don t know what e reading sorts do don t you miss the feel of a book, the whisper and scent of paper and ink Sigh At any rate, the right title is perhaps the most critical and taken for granted aspect of a book But the perfect title will be than a quote or an image from the book it fronts It will carry a theme or act as a metaphor to summarize in a handful of words the book s core Such titles seems as if the book was written around themAnd so it is with The Lotus Eaters As depicted in Homer s The Odyssey, the Lotus Eaters were inhabitants of an island deep in the southern Mediterranean who ate from a native lotus, becoming indolent and apathetic drugged by the flower s narcotic Odysseus s sailors went about among the Lotus eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus eaters without thinking further of their return nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars Odyssey IXIt is an image used time and again by novelists, from James Joyce to Edith Wharton, and serves as the ideal metaphor for Tatjana Soli s debut novel The Lotus Eaters.In Soli s gorgeous, fluid and haunting novel, the seductive narcotic is war When mixed with ambition, desire and an exotic locale, it becomes an elixir custom made to slake the thirst for adventure This novel expresses clearly than any I can think of the allure of the war experience and the shame and confusion that accompanies the attraction The story opens in April, 1975 as Saigon is overrun by the North Vietnamese Army, signaling the end of the war in Vietnam Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, is torn between getting herself and her lover onto a chopper and out of the madness and her desire to capture this story of her lifetime Helen makes her decision and through that decision the reader is taken back ten years, to the start of Helen s personal and professional journey through Vietnam The Lotus Eaters is told principally from the perspective of Helen, but we also read through the voices of Linh, a Vietnamese photojournalist, and Sam Darrow, a celebrated, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Both men become Helen s mentors and the focus of her passions.Helen s ambition to excel as a female photojournalist pushes her past the machismo of her fellow journalists, the barriers erected by the military against allowing women near the front, the horror of witnessing death and mutilation, the impossible fight against nature in the tropics and mountains of Southeast Asia, and her loneliness and fear, until all of these become the very source of her ambivalent addiction to recording the war in Vietnam Vietnam becomes home She learns its language, the rhythms of its seasons its very scents and shadows become ingrained in her spirit The Lotus Eaters shows us the upside down world of the wartime experience and how living on the edge heightens each emotion Passion, anger, fear, joy intensify until they overshadow memories of normal Helen even tries to return home, spending several weeks in the healing beauty of the California coast, but the pull of the Lotus is too strong She returns to Vietnam, to assume her place at the front lines of the war Tatjana Soli s writing is as lush and vivid as her setting She can be heavy handed with the metaphors, as if she s trying too hard to bring you into this overgrown, overripe world, but this is easily forgiven Her characters are complete, the story is compelling and the writer s voice is strong and unique The novel itself became a Lotus that I reluctantly set aside each day and was bereft when it came to an end Rarely do we see war s front lines through the eyes of a woman rarer still is ambivalence so richly presented without judgment or conclusion An outstanding read.

  9. says:

    Typically, I avoid war books like the plague with a few notable exceptions Tim O Brien, Kevin Power So The Lotus Eaters sat on my To Be Read shelf for nearly three years before I picked it up And once I started reading, the house could have burned down around me THAT S how compelling it is.Tatjana Soli s main character, gutsy Helen Adams, is a photographer who feeds on the adrenalin rush of covering the war in Vietnam an unwinnable war in which it is not unusual for a native Vietnamese to fight on each side as the war gets uglier She will love and be loved by two men Sam Darrow, a self created American photographer who is hooked on the danger of war coverage and Linh, a Vietnamese photojournalist and former poet who is harboring explosive secrets It has been a long time since I fell in love with a literary character, but I loved both these men beautifully realized creations of the author.Sam asks Helen, Don t you think it s a calling to live in danger just to capture the face of those who are suffering To show their invisible lives to the world As Helen begins to realize, sometimes, the question is not quite that simple Sometimes, the craving for danger becomes an end in itself, blotting out the original noble goals While Darrow claims to want to photograph the North and South in peace , Linh knows better He reflects, Most of the time, the reality of a situation fell into a gray no man s land in between The Americans called it the Vietnam war and the Vietnamese called it the American war , to differentiate it from the French War Eventually, Linh tells Helen, You want to stand over the dead and cry, but that helps no one That s a tourist s sensibility Day after day I go out with photographers who are tourists of the war The war is in my home And so, Tatiana Soli raises the integral questions how do we bear witness to war Once you really see , can you ever go back to a complacent former life What happens when the mind becomes inured and the photojournalist needs and danger to get the same high And what happens when you become so transformed that you only feel human when life is on the edge Yet this book is far from philosophical There are scenes that are so masterfully rendered that they will remain seared in my mind the winning of hearts and minds that centers on a little girl and backfires, an insecure commander who orders one of his men into a suicide mission only to have that man choose his way to die, and most of all, the agony of the Vietnamese who are uprooted from ancestral homes and yet denigrated by their saviors At one point, Helen dons a Vietnamese hat, only to be ordered to remove it the men in the platoon all stomp over it.I loved this book I loved everything about it the wonderfully fleshed out characters, the racing plot, the underlying themes, the luscious prose I envy those who are approaching it for the first time.

  10. says:

    Very atmospheric and at times brutal novel about the Vietnam War Three intriguing main characters, Helen Adams a photo journalist, her colleague, reporter Sam Darrow, and a Vietnamese former soldier, Linh, who becomes a photojournalist in his own right The inevitable love affairs sequential, not simultaneous never quite rang true for me and there was something flat about the characters that I could not pin down, but I appreciated it for the extraordinary descriptions of battles and of a beautiful country destroyed in one of the most pointless wars the U.S ever fought Content PG or maybe even R for graphic battle scenes Some sexual content.

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