In the High Peaks

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yup! I'm Still in Vietnam

Caution! Caution! This blog has been written while under the influence of all the characters in Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes. Remember, this is a combat zone, and my language today is NOT my usual. If you are apt to be offended by strong language from the Vietnam era, then please return later this weekend, when I'll be remembering who I am. I hope.

Matterhorn has taken over my life. I find myself thinking about it, reading pieces of dialogue to Ken, and telling him a joke or two. Yet, as you would expect, it's a deadly serious book. Now that I'm on page 324 out of 566, I'm "hip" with the jargon, the gallows humor, and the misery that comes out in bursts of violence and buffoonery, and I'm going to miss this world when I've hit the last page.

This reaction is not one I could have predicted. I can see one of the "grunts" swearing at me. "Are you f--ing crazy? You're going to miss reading about the ugliest jungle on the face of the planet, the pus oozing out of our jungle rot, the splibs (blacks) wanting to frag (murder) the chuck (white) officers all the time, the patrols when anyone's next step may kill us all, and the stupid pointlessness of every damn f--ing thing?"

Yes, I'm going to miss it because for once there are no heroes. Some guys are good sometimes and then there are a lot of really, really stupid-assed people. Am I misspelling heroes?

I can't believe that there's a Vietnam novel out there that's more real than this one. Great interview with Karl Marlantes here.

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