Gods Go Begging
AbeBooks Mitglied seit 1996
AbeBooks Mitglied seit 1996
Titel: Gods Go Begging
Verlag: Dutton Adult
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The first novel to tackle the Vietnam War from a Latino soldier's perspective
"Luminous. This is a beautiful book."--Carolyn See, author of The Handyman
This acclaimed Mexican-American author's third novel draws upon his personal experience as a soldier in Vietnam for a passionate and profound meditation on war, race, history, and desire. Vea's fictional counterpart, Jesse Pasadoble, served his country with honor and courage--even though he and his fellow Chicano grunts, as well as their black comrades, experienced a different, less hospitable America than the one enjoyed by their white commanders. A lifetime later, the battle still rages in nightmares and memories as Jesse finds himself on the front lines of a new conflict: the present-day gang wars raging in urban America. Gods Go Begging is a novel that is both searing and suffused with poetry, and Vea tackles his ambitious subject with gritty authenticity and gutsy humor.
"Powerful . . . enchanting. From the very first sentence I was trapped and could not resist."--Isabel Allende (on La Maravilla)
One could argue that the war novel is an essentially timeless genre. Weapons are subject to long and increasingly lethal refinement--but from Homer's day to our own, the fear, fury, remorse, and anguish experienced on the battlefield have hardly changed a whit. Still, the stories told by Vietnam-generation novelists may differ in the telling. A writer like Alfredo Vea draws on a myriad of cultural and literary traditions to evoke the peculiar terrors of Vietnam--while invariably reflecting the outsider status of the soldiers who fought in the conflict. And for both of these reasons, his third novel, Gods Go Begging, is a remarkable work.
Vea begins his story in present-day San Francisco. The protagonist, Jesse Pasadoble, is a former Army sergeant who's now made a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney. Haunted by wartime memories, Pasadoble has found a way to channel his anguish: his impoverished clients remind him of his suffering comrades, and he seeks a compensatory justice for what he and his platoon lost.
Jesse hated death. He did not fear it, but he hated it with all of his heart and soul. A year and a half of incredible fear in the highlands of Vietnam had been transformed into an almost anguished love the living, intact moment, the moment that can never be possessed. Like many of the men who have witnessed the best and worst in themselves, who have been given a glimpse of the end of their lives at a very young age, he had lost the power to be lonely. The power had been replaced by something else: a soul sickness; a hunger for beauty, but only at a distance. Though he could not love his own life and the things within it, Jesse hated death.His newest client is a 12-year-old boy, a child of the projects who's been charged with the brutal murder of two women. As the case unfolds, the barriers between past and present, America and Vietnam, erode and finally disappear. Meanwhile, Vea expertly marries the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez to his visceral accounts of battle. Indeed, whether we measure by the breadth of his imagination, the strength of his characters, or the hallucinatory power of his prose, there seems to be no novelistic terrain that Vea can't conquer. A chronicle of defeat and suffering, Gods Go Begging represents a paradoxical victory for the author--and, of course, for the reader. --Ted Leventhal
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