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Absolution

de Alice McDermott

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3411976,522 (4.02)33
"A riveting account of women's lives on the margins of the Vietnam War, from the renowned winner of the National Book Award"--
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Mostrando 1-5 de 17 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
A take on some of the multi-generational ripples of war, from the wives perspective. Spanning decades, an 80ish year old woman looks back at her time in Vietnam early in the American part of the war. ( )
  kcshankd | Apr 27, 2024 |
Early 1960’s and Kennedy is President when young men both military and civilians with families were sent to Saigon to help the Soth Vietnamese defend democracy. Novel is told from the wives point of view who are left alone while the husbands do important things. Charlene, a force among the mostly passive women wants to do good but also make a little side money. Rachel new to Saigon and childless falls in with Charlene’s side hustle and begins to see South Vietnam from a different perspective than her husband. The ambiguity of what the US wants to foster in Vietnam is played with but mostly we see the wives POV. Interesting book and a reminder how straight we all once were. ( )
  bblum | Apr 14, 2024 |
In all but length, I found this a very slight novel with little of interest in terms of plot, characters, and theme. The writing is controlled, a little too prettily polished, and even slightly phoney. I expected more and ultimately rate it an inconsequential piece. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Apr 2, 2024 |
Really enjoyed this book to see the Vietnam War from a young American bride's perspective and trying to fit into life in Saigon. ( )
  kheders | Apr 1, 2024 |
Tricia is a young wife who accompanied her husband to Saigon. It's 1963, and the expat life of garden parties, evening drinks and children attending the international school while living in lavish homes cared for by local help is still normal. Tricia, by nature a good girl who grew up working class Catholic in Yonkers, is ready to do her part to help her husband's career. She's naturally shy, but keenly observant and she falls in easily with Charlene, a woman with goals and plans and the forceful nature needed to carry them out. She's quickly co-opted into Charlene's work, at first bringing toys to hospitalized children (and cigarettes to their parents), then into a plan that involves trips out to a leper colony. But the war is becoming something that can't be ignored and Tricia is forced into looking at how the very best of intentions can do harm.

The novel takes the form of letters written between Tricia and Charlene's daughter, in which Tricia explains how people thought and acted in that time and place, through the lens of what we now know. It's a balancing act, to tell the story of a woman in 1963, through her eyes then and now and McDermott is able to make that work. Charlene's actions, and therefore many of Tricia's were what we would look at now with a critical eye, as does the present day Tricia, looking closely at how what they were doing was just feel-good work for a large part, but also work that sometimes did real good and sometimes real harm. McDermott's characters seem fairly simple on the surface, but there's a lot of complexity under the surface. I will be thinking about the characters and the choices they made for some time. I recommend going into this book knowing as little as possible about it ahead of time. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Mar 1, 2024 |
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"A riveting account of women's lives on the margins of the Vietnam War, from the renowned winner of the National Book Award"--

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