Sharon W. (Columbia, SC)
The Lotus Eaters Does Not Mesmerize
A book with as much promise as The Lotus Eaters should be able to earn the highest reviewers' marks. Instead, I expect other readers will experience the same level of disappointment that I did.
I approached my reading of this novel with excitement. The Viet Nam conflict was the war of my generation, and the women's movement came into mainstream America during my twenties. What could be better than a novel set in the Viet Nam of the 60s with a female combat photographer as the main character?
As I turned the last page, I realized I was deeply disappointed. Although Tatjana Soli excels at narrative description, her plot structure and development are mediocre and juvenile. I tripped over too many syntax problems, anachronisms, and unexplained non-sensical acronyms. I realize this was a pre-publication draft, but no good writer should let such sentences loose in the world.
I would like to have been able to give a better review, especially to a writer who seems gifted at evoking a vast sense of time and place. Soli, however, needs to do some serious work on character and plot development.
Gail B. (Albuquerque, NM)
20th Century Lotus Eaters
These modern-day Lotus Eaters are hypnotized by desire -- for one more ultimate war photo, one more magazine cover, one more Pulitzer. A tough and touching, magically written, and well researched novel of the Vietnam war years as seen through the eyes of Helen Adams and her fellow photojournalists. The characters beautifully drawn. A must-read -- twice!
Susan F. (Rabun Gap, GA)
Compelling Story of War
Amazing captivating, I found myself immediately drawn into this compelling story of love and war. Page after page was quickly read and absorbed. The feeling of really being there in those bitter years of the Vietnam War was intense. The main characters, Helen Adams, Sam Darrow and Linh, were all well developed and very human. The plot holds you like a taut sting throughout the book and only releases you at the very end. An incredible read and one that I highly recommend.
Barbara S. (Brick, NJ)
Do all war correspondents and photographers use their working conditions as an excuse to jump into sexual relationships at the drop of a hat, overuse alcohol and drugs, gamble foolishly, setting aside their own rules of decent behavior? Or do authors want us to understand that "war is hell" and this is the only possible way they can deal with it while covering the atrocities? Love came too quickly to Helen so that set the tone for the story not having believability. There was a gap in the story that was never explained. I felt that Soli was able to depict Vietnam clearly and accurately. For those of us who have never seen war first hand, it is always such a shock to read it. Soli shocked me with her descriptions.
I wish she had paid as much attention to the characters as she did to the vividness of the country and the war.
Priscilla B. (Marietta, GA)
The Lotus Eaters
A well written story. The author takes you into the world of photojournalism and Vietnam 1965-1975. Soli sites extensive research on Vietnam and I think that comes through in the story.
She just seemed to "get it" on so many levels. The passion for a job/art, human relations, and the cultural of the country. The book will appeal to anyone who enjoys an interesting and well written story. It goes well beyond being just another wartime love story.
Shelby L. (Hamden, CT)
Historically and emotionally satisfying
This book will haunt you with its images of Vietnam.
Helen Adams, a photojournalist arrives there in the hopes of finding out what happened to her brother. She is taken by the country, it's people and her motivation to deliver award winning photos and subjects herself to war, chaos and love in her endeavor.
The writing is beautiful, spare yet full and I could feel the heat in the jungle and smell the aromas of Saigon and the countryside as I read. The characters are well developed and you feel their anguish as they attempt to survive in this war torn country.
I highly recommend "The Lotus Eaters'
Susan R. (Julian, NC)
This novel by first time author Tatjana Soli was a haunting depiction of the war in Vietnam from several different fronts. We saw the view of the US military, the view of the Vietnamese civilians and the views of the war photographers who were frequently caught in the middle. The main character, Helen Adams, grows in her understanding of the war through out the novel. She starts out as not being sure why she is there or what she is doing and ends up a stronger woman. It was a fantastic book and one that I couldn't put down once I started reading it.