- Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Signet Book; Reprint edition (May 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451212185
- ISBN-13: 978-0451212184
- Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.9 x 2.2 cm
Author: Don't Mean Nothing: Stories of Viet Nam
Amanda, the protagonist, struggles with neglect. It has haunted her all of her life. Her recently deceased mother was a schizophrenic, and her presence throughout Amanda's life was diaphanous. Her husband has grown distant and may be having an affair. Her cherished daughter has left the nest. And on top of all of this, Amanda thinks she may be pregnant.
The setting is the Long Island beach where Amanda's family gathers for their annual family vacation. The story flows seamlessly, moving in and out of time gradually so that we gather the complicated pieces of history as we watch the family interact in the present. The mood is sensual, earthy, and peaceful, like Amanda who finds her comfort in the natural order of life-- the ocean, the fertile soil, the innocent animals.
Ms Stahl plants the reader like a seed, with fine detail, allowing imagery to help her speak to us, and it does. By the end we understand more than Amanda and her family. We learn about how one evolves, rejuvenates and finds answers in a life that is like that ocean--complex, teaming with hidden, interconnecting lives, fluid and forgiving, yet tumultuous and unforgiving at times. But always, always demanding respect.
A great read. Thoughtful. It will fly by, but take time to read it and think.
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