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Central to Wayne Karlin's novel Prisoners is the story of Kiet, a runaway teenage orphan from Vietnam who is seeking her Black father and whose flight impinges upon the lives of several other characters, many of them Vietnam War veterans. The drama of the interlinking stories illuminates the "seepage of history" and examines the "crimes of war and family and skin" in the Tidewater region in Maryland. Karlin unpeels their histories like an onion, layer after layer, until the violent climax, and a denouement that offers understanding, hope, and reconciliation.
"Karlin is one of the most gifted, passionate, and powerful writers of his generation."-George Garrett, in choosing Prisoners as one of the most notable books of 1998 in the Dictionary of Literary Biography
"As the novel weaves characters and their voices in and out and moves toward a shattering climax in which age-old sin and horror come to bear on contemporary life, the reader realizes that the story of a young girl's search for a lost father is really the story of the world America has created. It is a dark-laced nightmare vision that still, ironically, has room for salvation."-Multicultural Review
"Poetic, powerful fiction."-Mary Ann Carroll, Booklist
"Prisoners...is a searing exploration of intermingled stories involving a Vietnamese-American teenager and three Vietnam veterans...it contains Karlin's illuminating prose, bluntly realistic dialogue, and mysteries that are solved slowly and surprisingly." Marc Leepson, The VVA Veteran
Wayne Karlin, called by Tim O'Brien "one of the most gifted writers to emerge from the Vietnam War," has written four previous novels: Crossover, Lost Armies, The Extras and US. In 1995, he co-edited The Other Side of Heaven: Post War Fiction by Vietnamese and American Writers, which has become a benchmark anthology. He is also the series editor for Curbstone's Voices from Vietnam Series of contemporary fiction.
Also available by Wayne Karlin
The Other Side of Heaven
PB $1.95, 1-880684-31-4 CUSA
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Wayne Karlin has been called by Tim O'Brien "one of the most gifted writers to emerge from the Vietnam War." He is the series editor of Curbstone's Voices from Vietnam series of contemporary fiction. Karlin lives in Maryland, where he teaches at the College of Southern Maryland.From Publishers Weekly:
The Vietnam War haunts the memories and the Civil War haunts the family histories of characters living on the Maryland shore in this dark, bitter fifth novel (Crossover, etc.). Kiet, a 15-year-old Amerasian girl, dons Viet Cong-style black pajamas as she searches vainly for her African American father. She's on the run from the cops, who want to use her as evidence against a sexually abusive foster parent. Sheriff Alex Hallam, a white Vietnam vet tormented by his actions during the war, finds pursuing Kiet somehow therapeutic. His deputy, Russell Hallam, an embittered African American Vietnam vet, is related to Alex through a family tree with roots in the Civil War and a brutal Yankee prison camp. While the cops hunt for Kiet, the other characters wallow in self-pity and guilt, miserable about their jobs, spouses and ethnic identities. A Jewish archeologist ties the plot together, first finding evidence of murder by Civil War prison guards and later doing forensic work on MIAs in Vietnam. When the paths of Kiet and the sheriff finally converge, a killing abruptly ends their torment. Karlin's resolution, however, is neither satisfying nor convincing, and the reader is left as depressed and directionless as the characters themselves.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Curbstone Press, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M188068456X