Melody
ISBN-13: 9780312611576
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: March 2010
400 pgs
Source: Personal Library




I didn't know why it took me awhile to read The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli, after all I have seen lots of good reviews of it. Nevertheless, it is always good to be late than never and with a little push by C.B. James' TBR Dare, I figured this is a good chance for me to pick up this book and read it.

Helen Adams is not your ordinary heroine. While other women trembled and scrambled for their life with the war raging in Vietnam, Helen chose to pick up her camera and risk her life shooting pictures during this chaotic times. But aside from this, Helen's main reason for going to Vietnam is to find out more about the death of her brother, Michael; who had lost his life in the war. However, she didn't expect that she would find solace in love amidst the war - whether it is fellow photojournalist Sam Darrow or Vietnamese ex-soldier and Darrow's assistant Linh.

Although the main focus of this story is on Helen, there is also a glimpse of Darrow and Linh's life as readers could read about their emotions and their struggles through Tatjana Soli's skilful writing. While reading this book, I felt there are so many issues are packed in this hauntingly beautiful story - relationships, ambitions, as well as loyalties. One could also feel a state of uncertainty as you can see from the following passage:

It was this way in Vietnam during the war - sometimes Darrow felt all powerful, felt he could ride fate like a flying carpet, like a helicopter, will it to do his bidding. Other times fate reminded him that he was only a toy, blown this way and that, swept away or destroyed on a whim. (Pg 249)
Through Helen's eyes, I see the cruelty of war and how this affected the civilians and the soldiers and all. I felt her struggle between duty and principle (which I'm sure many photojournalists will feel the same), and I also felt her happiness in love at times despite it falls under the most unfortunate circumstances. And because of The Lotus Eaters, now I began to understand more about the Vietnam War (I also want to extend my thanks to a good friend, Julia, for explaining the history to me.)

Despite the saddening mood and despair of the war and everything, I have to say I enjoyed this book immensely because author Tatjana Soli's prose and storytelling is simply wonderful. She has captured the essence of the wartime through research which what makes the entire reading experience so much enriching. I am sure The Lotus Eaters will be on my list as one of my most memorable reads this year. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to see what the author has in store next.
16 Responses
  1. irisonbooks Says:

    This sounds really good! Sometimes sad books, or books that are hard to read can be the most rewarding in the end.


  2. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    Funny, I didn't really feel all that sad reading this book, as much as I was just gripped. I convinced my book club to read this for January, and the author is going to call us! I can't wait.


  3. I love the sound of this book, I'll have to add it to my horrendously long TBR list!


  4. Melody Says:

    I agree, Iris!

    Sandy, I did feel sad about the situation, especially some suicidal scenes, gosh! That's exciting about the author's calling!

    I'm glad you're adding this to your list, Bright Side Girl! Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did! :)


  5. Trish Says:

    Sounds really gorgeous, Melody. I've heard this one talked about a lot but didn't really know what it was about. Glad you liked it--the cover is definitely eye-catching!


  6. Violet Says:

    I had almost picked this book up in the library some time back but kept it back. I should have borrowed it especially when you say it's going on the most memorable reads of this year and the year has just begun :)


  7. Alice Teh Says:

    This is a story I hope to read soon. I've read so many great reviews about it. Thanks, Melody!


  8. naida Says:

    Great review Mel, I really enjoyed this one too. I think the author did a great job of capturing the essence of wartime as well.
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/


  9. I'm so glad you liked this one, Melody! As you know, it was my top favorite read last year.


  10. Iliana Says:

    I was looking forward to your review Melody! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it and recommend it. I can't wait to read this one.


  11. Darlene Says:

    Great review Melody. I'm really looking forward to reading this book this year.


  12. Julia Says:

    Melody - I'm happy to hear that you enjoy this book. I took interested when I heard it is Vietnam story and thinking about reading it. Your welcome for helping you out with Vietnam history for you. I'm happy to help you :) Great review!


  13. Melody Says:

    Trish - You've gotta read this! And yes, the cover is very eye-catching!

    Violet - I hope you're able to borrow this from the library. A MUST READ! :P

    Alice - I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did when you get to it.

    Naida - Indeed! I look forward to her future releases!

    Wendy - And I'm sure it's gonna be mine this year. ;)

    Iliana & Dar - I hope you'll read it soon!! :)

    Julia - I think you might like it, especially since it has a Vietnamese setting.


  14. Veens Says:

    wow! I am sure this one will be memorable. Isn't it funny that one feels a bit off saying that they enjoyed this kind of book of war and despair?!
    But i think we most enjoy is the way the story is told.

    I am looking forward to buying this one. I really want to read it.


  15. Ceri Says:

    I really like your review, Mel. I might give this a go now actually - I'm pretty sure my mum was reading it recently too. :)


  16. Anna Says:

    I loved this book, too. It made my best of 2010 list. Soli's writing is beautiful. I hope it's okay to link to your review on War Through the Generations.