The Lotus Eaters

By Tatjana Soli
(St. Martin's Griffin, Paperback, 9780312674441, 416pp.)

Publication Date: December 21, 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the April 2010 Indie Notables
“Unlike any other story of war I've read, The Lotus Eaters sees the beauty amidst the destruction as only a story told through the eyes of a photographer can. It is at once a sweeping love story, a tragedy of humanity, and a fresh look at a war that transformed everything.”
-- Julia Callahan, Book Soup, West Hollywood, CA


Description

- Winner of UK's James Tait Black Prize
- New York Times Notable Book of 2010
- American Library Association 2011 Notable Book
- Finalist LA Times Book Award
- A Kirkus Reviews Top Debut Fiction of 2010
- Bookmarks Magazine Best Literary Fiction of 2010


In the final days of a falling Saigon, The Lotus Eaters unfolds the story of three remarkable photographers brought together under the impossible umbrella of war: Helen Adams, a once-naïve ingénue whose ambition conflicts with her desire over the course of the fighting; Linh, the mysterious Vietnamese man who loves her, but is torn between conflicting loyalties to his homeland and his heart; and Sam Darrow, a man addicted to the narcotic of violence, to his intoxicating affair with Helen and to the ever-increasing danger of his job. All three become transformed by the conflict they have risked everything to record.

In this much-heralded debut, Tatjana Soli creates a searing portrait of three souls trapped by their impossible passions, contrasting the wrenching horror of combat and the treachery of obsession with the redemptive power of love.




About the Author

Tatjana Soli's short stories have been widely published and twice cited in the 100 Distinguished Stories in Best American Short Stories and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Orange County, California. This is her debut novel.




NPR
Sunday, Jul 31, 2011

After I-95 peters out, US 1 is the only way to get to the jagged Maine coastline. Quaint local stores and the occasional tourist trap line those sections of the road. For the last installment of our series on vacation reading around the country, guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with Susan Porter, owner of Maine Coast Books about what her customers are reading this summer. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Tuesday, Aug 3, 2010

As a librarian and a reader, Nancy Pearl scours the shelves in search of hidden treasures -- titles you may have missed. Her findings include two chilling thrillers, one exquisite 1960s memoir, a lively biography of George Orwell, an example of historical fiction at its very best, and much more fiction, nonfiction and poetry. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Soli pulled the novel's title, The Lotus Eaters, from an episode in Homer's The Odyssey and uses Homer's description of the land of the lotus-eaters as the novel's opening epigraph. What connection do you see between Homer's lotus-eaters and the main characters of this novel? What, if anything, in this novel acts like the lotus described by Homer, so powerful and seductive it causes one to abandon all thoughts of home? Does each character have a different "lotus" that draws them in? How does the title illuminate the main themes of the novel? 




Praise For The Lotus Eaters

"A haunting debut novel…quietly mesmerizing…" --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Devastatingly awesome…It's one of those books that I didn't want to put down — I resented everything else that I needed to do in my life, because I didn't want to stop reading it.”-- Nancy Pearl, NPR

“35 years after the fall of Saigon, Soli’s entrancing debut brings you close enough to feel a part of it." --People

"A haunting world of war, betrayal, courage, obsession, and love." --Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried

"You must read The Lotus Eaters, Tatjana Soli’s beautiful and harrowing new novel. Its characters are unforgettable.” --Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic

"The very steam from Vietnam's jungles seems to rise from the pages of Tatjana Soli's tremendously evocative debut…A beautiful book." --Janice Y. K. Lee, author of The Piano Teacher

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