Listen to Soldier in Paradise on your phone!
John Mort’s compelling first novel embodies both the Vietnam combat experience and the sad aftermath for those who underwent it. Alternating between “stateside” chapters after the war and the Vietnam chapters dramatizing it, the novel creates a tension back and forth in time as well as geography. We participate in the trauma of combat in crisp and authentic detail, and we witness the effect of that experience on “Irish” Donnelly, a bookish, reluctant soldier, and his fellow infantrymen in the jungles and mountains of Vietnam. Transcending any “political” focus, Soldier in Paradise dramatically renders the alienation of Vietnam veterans, ordinary men who’ve had an extra burden to bear because of the protracted, brutish character of an unpopular war that never came to a satisfactory end.