THE PERIMETER OF LIGHT by Vivian Vie Balfour

THE PERIMETER OF LIGHT

Short Fiction and Other Writing About the Vietnam War
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Outstanding, multifaceted collection of writings on Vietnam. Particularly welcome are the number of stories of the hitherto underrepresented women's experience of Vietnam. Daniell D`Ottavio Harned's rich, savagely beautiful ``Like Clouds Depart'' tells of a stewardess who flies R & R flights--her short affairs, an agonized visit to the hospital. ``Jody's Got Your Sister Too'' is Judy Kohler's razor-sharp first-person picture of a bighearted stateside nurse who looks reality dead in the eye; she's in love with her husband, having an affair with the sergeant running her ward, and is loved by her G.I patients. Also set stateside is Wayne Johnson's shivery ``Hippies, Indians, Buffalo.'' Martin receives a letter from his cousin a month after he was killed in Khe San: ``...don't let them talk you into coming over here. All we're doing is dying like pigs in this fucking muck.'' Shortly afterward, a draft notice arrives. The delayed casualties are here: In ``The Blue Lady,'' Ian Graham Leask renders the last thoughts of a man dying from exposure to Agent Orange, and Eileen Curtis's ``The Rhythm-Aires'' is a painfully acute portrait of a man still suffering the death of his son in Vietnam 20 years ago. Rick Christman contributes an agonizingly melancholy tale of a US translator who attempts to adopt a Vietnamese girl. Tim O'Brien's entry, ``The Man I Killed,'' is from his novel The Things They Carried. In ``The Hero,'' John Mort contributes a very strong story about a grunt so credulous he still believes war is a John Wayne movie. And Anthony Bokoski tells a compelling tale (``The Perimeter of Light'') of the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name in the trenches. A very fine collection of writings whether one is a Vietnam buff or not. (Ten photographs by Lance Woodruff.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-89823-140-X
Page count: 312pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1992