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The Man From Saigon: Book summary and reviews of The Man From Saigon by Marti Leimbach

The Man From Saigon

A Novel

by Marti Leimbach

The Man From Saigon
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  Feb 2010
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

It's 1967, and Susan Gifford is one of the first female correspondents on assignment in Saigon, dedicated to her job and passionately in love with an American TV reporter. Son is a Vietnamese photographer anxious to get his work into the American press. Together they cover every aspect of the war from combat missions to the workings of field hospitals. Then one November morning, narrowly escaping death during an ambush, Susan and Son find themselves the prisoners of three Vietcong soldiers who have been separated from their unit.

  Now, under constant threat from American air strikes, helpless in the hands of the enemy, they face the daily hardships of the jungle together. As time passes, the bond between Susan and Son deepens, and it becomes increasingly difficult for Son to harbor the secret that could have profound consequences for them both.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Vivid and and powerful…Leimbach masterfully conjures the hothouse atmosphere of foreign correspondents in Saigon in the late 1960s." - Publishers Weekly

"The Man from Saigon is stunning—so visual, so sensual and sharply realized. Almost nothing else could interest me in another book about that war, but by writing about a woman reporter in Vietnam, Leimbach makes its dark history brilliantly new." - Karen Connelly, author of The Lizard Cage

"You might question the ambition of a contemporary novelist electing to set a story in the Vietnam War era, but after you find (as I did) that you simply cannot put down The Man from Saigon, you question no more. Leimbach’s mastery of place, of the scents, sounds, terrors and sorrows of that time reminded me as perhaps only a great novel can that that we are never done with a war even when it is long over, and that only wars and love endure." - Dr. Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

“Leimbach does an impressive job of evoking the frenetic chaos of Saigon and the claustrophobia and suffocating humidity of the dense jungle, while her story has a vivid immediacy as it flashes backwards and forwards in a deliberately disorienting fashion. The result is intense and gripping.” - Daily Mail (UK)

"Emotionally rich, viscerally intense, the novel revisits a familiar terrain but finds ways to see it anew." - The Independent (UK)

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Reader Reviews

Write your own review

mainlinebooker

The exclamation that says it all!
Riveting and vivid are two words that come to my mind. The visual imagery that exploded in my mind from reading this made me hungry for every word. She painted a detailed landscape so lush and dense making me feel I was thrust alive inside this horrific world.

Hydee F. (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Unexpectedly riveting
I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this book based upon the setting, the Vietnam War isn't exactly my favorite setting for historical fiction, but I found myself unable to put his book down once I got into it. The subplots are interesting, and valuable, and I really came to care about Susan and Son. In the end, I found myself deeply saddened it was over, and wanted more!

Katherine W. (El Sobrante, CA)

Jungle Love
Although I was slow to warm up to "The Man From Saigon", by the time I was well into the narrative, the book was almost impossible to put down. Marti Lembach's writing was so evocative of the suffocating heat found in the Viet Nam jungle that I found myself breaking out into a sweat and getting concerned that I might come down with foot rot This novel is an artful tapestry in which a love story, espionage and historical and political fiction are woven together seamlessly.

Linda C. (Carlisle, MA)

The Man From Saigon
From the very first paragraph I was harshly pulled into the world of the Vietnam war. With an incredible ability to enable the reader the experience every setting to the fullest, Marti Leimbach bombarded all of my senses. Because of these details, I was masterfully drawn into every experience in this surrealistic setting of war. It was a story of relationships and humanity fitting into a war zone. Relationships were filled with mystery and intrigue that come and go within the constant that is war. It is a war novel that a woman can experience in a way most don't achieve. An excellent read that keeps the reader riveted!

Lorraine R. (Southampton, New York)

The Man From Saigon
It is unusual to read a war novel about a female reporter. The author successfully relates a very difficult and sad time in American history through the perspective of a female. Many books have been written about this period through the eyes of the soldiers, such as the Things they Carried by Tim O'Brien, and this is a refreshing change from the war novel genre. This is well-written and thoughtful literature. It would be good book club novel to be read in conjunction with other Vietnam war novels.

Barbara B. (New Bern, NC)

I loved this book.
I loved “The Man from Saigon” by Marti Leimbach.
I would highly recommend reading this book. I enjoyed reading the story because it was about the Vietnam War which I know very little about.
The story is about a gutsy, quirky female correspondent in Vietnam who was not afraid to go the front line. It is also a love story and the many effects the war has on everyone involved.
The main characters are Susan Gifford one of the first few woman correspondents in Vietnam in 1967. Marc Davis, Susan’s lover, a TV reporter, married, and has been in Vietnam too long. Our third colorful and mysterious character and part of the love triangle is Son, who is a Vietnamese photographer who became Susan’s partner, companion, interpreter and as the story goes, her protector.
When Susan and Son are captured by three young Viet Cong, we see how courageous Susan is, how mysterious Son is and how the hardship of war and his love for Susan have affected Marc.

...14 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Marti Leimbach Author Biography

Marti Leimbach is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller Dying Young, which was made into a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts. Born in Washington, D.C., she attended the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Irvine, and Harvard University. Her new novel Age of Consent is to be published in June, 2016. She currently lives in England and teaches at Oxford University's Creative Writing program.

Author Interview
Link to Marti Leimbach's Website

Name Pronunciation
Marti Leimbach: lime-bark

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