Remains: Non-Viewable: A Memoir

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9780374249038: Remains: Non-Viewable: A Memoir
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When John Sacret Young's cousin, Doug was killed in Vietnam, Young learned that the remains of every Vietnam casualty fell into one of two official categories: Viewable or Non-Viewable. He also discovered that such categories applied to how his New England family faced its own history.

This compelling narrative is the haunting story of a man coming to terms with himself, with his family's past, with what he knows and will never know, and with his own future.

Remains: Non-Viewable traces the close-knit lives of four men in Young's family: his uncle George, his cousin Doug, his father, and the author himself. In lyrical yet pungent prose, it illustrates how their seemingly tranquil existence on the Massachusetts shore is affected over the years by war, alcoholism, fading friendships and shifting memories of events gone by.

Beautifully written and profoundly moving, Remains: Non-Viewable, a powerful and persuasive examination of fathers and sons, of war and remembrance, and of family and self.

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About the Author:

John Sacret Young was co-creator, writer, and executive producer of China Beach, the landmark television series about Vietnam. He is the author of The Weather Tomorrow, a novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

The co-creator of the innovative Vietnam War dramatic TV series China Beach, Young offers a memoir that fugues around the death in Vietnam of his cousin Doug the week before Christmas in 1969. The results are catastrophic for Young's family: his father descends into alcohol-induced brain damage, Young abuses women (his ex-wife, his favorite female cousin and his former girlfriend Dana Delany) and his family suffers all manner of psychic pain after Doug's death. Young's stories, punctuated with extended episodes of reconstructed dialogue, are infused with grief-filled passages on death, loss, disconnection and broken relationships. "All of our lives are fragile nets that tragedy tears at as it sets loose a danger—the impact on the survivors and their relationships." And that is what we get: intimately rendered portraits of life at its most difficult. The odd title was inspired by the way the military classified the bodies of Americans sent home from the Vietnam War as either viewable or nonviewable. Doug Young's body, contrary to the title, was viewable. The aftermath, Young implies, makes for a more difficult spectacle. Agent, Kathy Young.(May)
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