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Soldier's Joy: A Novel

Bell, Madison Smartt

129 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0899198368 / ISBN 13: 9780899198361
Published by Ticknor & Fields, New York, 1989
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Clayton Fine Books (Shepherdstown, WV, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Near fine (slight fading to board edges) in near fine dust jacket showing slight shelf wear. Signed by author on title page. Bookseller Inventory # b22688

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Soldier's Joy: A Novel

Publisher: Ticknor & Fields, New York

Publication Date: 1989

Binding: Hard Bound

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: Signed First Edition.

About this title


A man returns home from Vietnam to his now abandoned family homestead outside of Nashville, suffering from a serious psychological wound incurred in combat. He meets up with a childhood friend who is black, and together they battle against a platoon of Klansmen for the literal salvation of a local preacher.

From Publishers Weekly:

Bell's impressive talents as a writer, which include endowing settings (here the landscape of rural Tennessee) with the significance of character, and a patient, compassionate probing of injured souls, are on full display in this uneven but intriguing story of a young Vietnam veteran's slow, brave resumption of civilian life. Thomas Laidlaw lives alone on his family land; he raises sheep, grows hay and vegetables, roams the countryside at night and practices his banjo. (The title is the name of a song as well as reference to a questionable legacy of the Vietnam war; as in his Zero db and Other Stories , the author's absorption with music enriches his prose). Gradually Laidlaw reestablishes his friendship with Rodney Redmon, a black man he'd grown up with and with whom he'd spent time in Vietnam. Also gradually--the operative word for most of the book, where details accumulate with the authority of a natural process--Laidlaw puts together a band, including the fiddler Adrienne, whose lover he becomes, and they begin to play at local bars. At the end, when Laidlaw, Redmon and a third reclusive vet are involved in a shoot-out with a cadre of Klansmen who attack a popular evangelist, the story disintegrates in an unexpected, if powerful, finale. For all its lack of balance, this novel's rewards far outweigh its flaws.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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