Charles Boatman has carried around a secret with him about his time fighting in the Vietnam War his entire life and it has weighed heavily. During one of his missions, he shot and killed a Vietnamese boy. After reading a novel of a Vietnamese soldier, Charles decides to return to Vietnam, searching for closure. He soon goes missing and two of his children come to Vietnam to retrace his footsteps and try to find him.
Ada and Jon Boatman meet some of Charles friends. Ada grows close to Charles friends as she chases his shadow. Jon copes by delving into the gay urban nightlife. The authorities provide no help and both Ada and Jon feel like this is going to be a fruitless search.
This book won the Giller Prize and is follows the same formula that any prize winning book follows; authors trying to make themselves look smarter by using longer words, lots of similes, and being incredibly descriptive. This isn't my favourite kind of writing (if you couldn't tell). Unfortunately the past couple of Canadian books I've read I've found slow and hard to connect with the main characters. Is this a trend in Canadian literature of have I just picked up a series of wrong books?
I did enjoy the first half of the book. I felt like there was purpose and I could see where the book was going. However once the kids found their father, I didn't know how Bergen was going to make a story of the remaining 100 pages or so. That's where he lost me. Ada and Jon started behaving worse and worse and I started caring less and less. Then the book just ended. Not very fulfilling.
First Line: "The typhoon arrived that night."