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A River in May [Kindle Edition]

Edward Wilson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

What happens when a bunch of murderous gringos are let loose on a developing country? A Vietnam War novel with a difference, giving voice to the dispossessed.

Product Description


'There's no getting away from the book's raw power - highly recommended.'
-- The Mail on Sunday, 8 April 2007, Simon Shaw

Metro London 10 July 2002, Robert Murphy

Wilson's tale, addressing the suffering of the Vietnamese, has integrity and evocative details...a worthwhile addition to the war novel.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 478 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1900850729
  • Publisher: Arcadia Books (15 Mar. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WAYV7K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,137 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine writing and a solid sense of story 7 Mar. 2003
In A River in May, young Special Forces Lieutenant Francis Lopez, adopted from Mexico by a tragedy-stalked aristocratic family and schooled in France, flees his personal ghosts by going to Viet Nam. His life with a handful of US soldiers in a mountain basecamp, commanded by a captain who is unnaturally obsessed with the destruction of a rag-tag nearby village, supported by South Vietnamese troops who disappear when there are rumors of attack, is surrealistically harrowing. His ultimate attempt at redemption is even more so.
This is not beach reading, by any means. It's affecting stuff, graphic, by turns blackly humorous and horrifically sad. But this makes it well worth the read--and the ending had me turning pages late at night.
Author Edward Wilson, a Viet Nam veteran who served with the Special Forces, paints a setting so real you can feel the rats nibbling at your fingernails. His characters are living, breathing, bleeding, three-dimensional human beings, quirks, egos and all. And his war is the real thing--a cesspool of chaos and psychopathology, a logistical Catch-22 where idealism is near kin to cynicism, corruption is rewarded, betrayal is an everyday inconvenience, and the cruel play sadistic games unhampered and uncondemned. It is a world where the lucky survive, and come home to wonder what luck really is.
We live in a nervous, armed-to-the-teeth world where it is vital, I believe, to demystify war, to rethink heroism and question the wisdom of sending children to die in the service of political whimsy. A River in May does all this, with fine writing and a solid sense of story. It deserves to be on the shelf next to Tim O'Brien's books, and it should be required reading for anyone who votes.
Susan O'Neill...
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and disturbing 10 Nov. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone who has read a few of the many novels/ fictionalised memoirs that have come out of the Vietnam war will recognise (a little tiredly perhaps) the use of the well-worn tropes that the story includes -- the cut-off ear dangling from a neck chain as a trophy; the evil, blood-thirsty commanding officer; the resilient integrity of the badly wounded Vietnamese cadre; the cowardly helicopter pilots and so on. Like many other Vietnam war novels, there seems to be a need to include as many instances as possible of what have consequently become familiar images -- perhaps as a sort of catharsis for the writer. The unfortunate consequence of this is that it occasionally trips the story up into too many episodes of (familiar) horror which almost interrupt the narrative flow .

But it would be wrong to dismiss this powerful piece of writing for the inclusion of a few stylistic cliches and familiar instances of plot-colour. How much A River in May is a piece of cathartic writing based on experiences from the author's own life only he can say. What is apparent to the reader is how this story -- overall -- is really unlike any other Vietnam war book. Or unlike almost any other war novel come to that.

The denouement really is shocking and it really does continue to resonate after the book is closed.

Entirely different from any of the normal pantheon -- Herr's Dispatches; Wright's Meditations In Green; Mason's Chickenhawk; any of Tim O'Brien's books -- this one, as other reviewers have quite rightly pointed out, can stand its ground against any of them. It is reminded me a lot of Wolff's 'In Pharoah's Army'. It is as well written and as perceptive; as fluid (bar one or two episodic judders) and as powerful a piece of writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very honest 19 May 2014
By Sophie Hedley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A River in May is a Vietnam War novel which is not something I’d normally read yet Edward Wilson blew me away with the powerful prose in this book. There’s no escaping that this book handles bleak and harrowing issues but the writing was stunning and this book presents a plot which is not to be ignored.

Lieutenant Lopez is a complex, conflicted character who battles with the horrific realities of war along with his own personal demons too. You can’t read this book expecting heroes and characters you’re going to love but instead, refreshingly real characters who I connected with, regardless of my opinion on them. The characters were written perfectly.

Edward Wilson drew on his own experiences from the Vietnam War when writing A River in May, making this novel much more honest yet equally distressing. The pacing was spot on and the plot, laced with black humour, is shocking yet equally moving. You battle along with Lopez and his guilt, suffering and search for answers. A River in May is a difficult novel to read but very rewarding and so worth it.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very fine piece of writing 26 Oct. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A superb novel - beautifully written, sophisticated in its handling of the narrator's dilemma, moving, painful, occasionally funny (in a mordant way). My first encounter with Wilson, others of his already bought on the strength of it. Cannot recall who recommended his writing to me - possible Amazon's megacomputer, but anyway, thanks to whoever that was.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A River in May
By Edward Wilson
'Stylistically sophisticated' first novel by Edward Wilson, an American Special Forces officer during the Vietnam War, is not for the faint hearted. Although the title suggests some sunny, sentimental romanticism, one take of the darkly powerful and striking cover dispel any possibility of nostalgia or banality.
This shockingly truthful and emotionally complex supercharged heavyweight - information stacked - reveals to be incredibly effective and masterly at evoking the sinister and macabre obscene destruction surrounding Vietnams brutality, that was of holocaustic proportion. In factual, punchy, lean and mean lines the concentrated essence of this historical (and human) malfunction, wreaking unbelievably gruesome and despairing events, leaves the main character, Lopez, as well as its reader with a sickening, gut wrenching stench in the revelation of its horror and futility.
This book parallels the war that rages within Lopez, a twenty-three-year-old Lieutenant, an American of Mexican origin, to the transference to the larger and far reaching atrocities of pandemic proportion of Vietnams degradation and butchery. Lopez, an independent spirit from childhood, juggles precariously with feelings of loss, guilt, displacement and lack of belonging. This inability to reconcile between good and evil, love and rejection, the adherence to rules and what is right, as well as his desire to please, wrangle, and are in conflict with harboured individualistic and anarchical tendencies. This foot in both camps has Lopez emotionally, morally and intellectually dancing over hot coals as to the correct course of action. This book is not about hero's - there are no hero's, because any quest soon reveals itself as pointless, meaningless and base.
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