The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
I didn’t like this book. Right off the bat, I disliked the female protagonist, which made it difficult to get through 300+ pages with her. I thought she was way too stubborn, and while I’m all for strong female characters, she was grated on me too much. I can’t define what it was about her (which makes this a poor book review); I just disliked her. Perhaps it was her disdainful view of Linh at the beginning, who we only find out later is the love of her life.
Oh, and that’s another thing: the book starts at the end. So, while this novel is touted as a “love triangle” of sorts, it’s anything but. You know who she ends up with pages into the novel, which makes the rest of the book feel like a wade through unnecessary material. I didn’t know why I was bothering.
One thing I did like was Soli’s sense of setting. She has a knack for bringing the reader to Vietnam during the war, a truly horrific time and place in which to be. Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is my favorite novel set during the Vietnam War, which may be another reason I wasn’t too keen on this book: for me, that is the penultimate novel about the war, and nothing else will ever hold a candle to it. Sorry, Soli.