Philosophical Parsnip

Americana, good books, and the occasional poem

Posts tagged vietnam

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Kien imagines his old friends working on the land, slashing and burning in the dry season, weeding in the wet. Going to the jungle in the wet season to pick mushrooms and cut bamboo shoots. Catching fish and hunting animals, delivering crops. Hardening calloused hands, broadening muscled backs.

The sacks of salt and rice, the cassavas, the sweat of hard labor, would they have generated in him the joy in life which seemed to have forever forsaken him?

The Sorrow of War, Bao Ninh

Filed under farming country life farm peace happiness bao ninh the sorrow of war vietnam vietnam war literature fiction novel fishing rice

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He looked over to Kien and said gently, “So, you’re off to the war? Not that I can prevent you. I’m old, you are young. I couldn’t stop you if I wanted to. I just want you to understand me when I say that a human being’s duty on this earth is to live, not to kill.” Then he said, “Taste all manner of life. Try everything. Be curious and inquire for yourself. Don’t turn your back on life.”

The Sorrow of War, Bao Ninh

Filed under bao ninh the sorrow of war war vietnam vietnam war literature fiction life experience youth killing peace

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Some of his loved ones he had not bothered to stay in contact with. Others had vanished. He had left yet others in his wake. He had lived selfishly these last years without looking back. Time and his work had taken over his life. He had sought neither  opportunities nor responsibilities. His memories that afternoon reawakened in him the sense of sacred duty. He felt he must press on to fulfill his obligations, his duty as a writer.

The Sorrow of War, Bao Ninh

Filed under vietnam novel fiction sorrow of war bao ninh vietnamese novels vietnam war

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Thus Sands found himself at 9:00 am on December 31, 1966, at the snack bar in a bowling alley filled, even at that hour, with airmen pursuing improved averages in a clattering atmosphere. He ate bacon and eggs off a plastic plate at a table alongside rows and rows of bowling balls and watched. Despite the general noise there was a kind of tiptoe stealth in the approach of some of these athletes, a stalking, bird-dog concentration. Others lumbered to the line and flung like shot-putters.

Tree of Smoke, Denis Johnson

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At the sight of the flag he tasted tears in his throat.  In the Stars and Stripes all the passions of his life coalesced to produce the ache with which he loved the United States of America—with which he loved the dirty, plain, honest faces of GIs in the photographs of World War Two, with which he loved the sheets of rain rippling across the green playing field toward the end of the school year, with which he cherished the sense-memories of the summers of his childhood, the many Kansas summers of his childhood, the many Kansas summers, running the bases, falling harmlessly onto the grass, his head beating with heat, the stunned streets of breezeless afternoons, the thick, palpable shade of colossal elms, the muttering of radios beyond the windowsills, the whirring of redwing blackbirds, the sadness of the grown-ups at their incomprehensible pursuits, the voices carrying over the yards in the dusks that fell later and later, the trains moving through town into the sky.  His love for his country, his homeland, was a love for the United States of America in the summertime.

Tree of Smoke, Denis Johnson

Filed under America Kansas summer flag United States USA United States of America Vietnam Tree of Smoke Denis Johnson baseball GIs evening stars and stripes