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eBook Girl by the Road at Night: A Novel of Vietnam ePub

eBook Girl by the Road at Night: A Novel of Vietnam ePub

by David Rabe

  • ISBN: 1439163332
  • Category: Genre Fiction
  • Subcategory: Literature
  • Author: David Rabe
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Pages: 240
  • ePub book: 1556 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1948 kb
  • Other: mbr lit docx mobi
  • Rating: 4.9
  • Votes: 941

Description

David Rabe’s award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous .

David Rabe’s award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp of a war that continues to haunt. A real piece of art, David Rabe's skillful, mature "Girl by the Road at Night" tracks the deep interplay of sex and violence in two lives, in two cultures, and in the human urge towards deliverance. With rich supportive images of cosmetics and pajamas, and insects, rats and snakes, it elicits both tender and reptile emotions.

Brutal, tough, agonizing and painful. Girl by the Road at Night is unflinching. David Rabe primarily writes plays about Vietnam, but has begun branching out into novels. I picked this book up at the library. I read the first 25 pages or so and could not muster any sympathy for or interest in the characters. The chapters alternate between an American GI and a Vietnamese prostitute, who eventually end up becoming entangled.

David Rabe’s award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp .

David Rabe’s award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp of a war that continues to haunt. Partially written upon his return from the war, Girl by the Road at Night is Rabe’s first work of fiction set in Vietnam-a spare and poetic narrative about a young soldier embarking on a tour of duty and the Vietnamese prostitute he meets in country. Private Joseph Whitaker, with Vietnam deployment papers in hand, spends his last free weekend in Washington, DC, drinking, attending a peace rally, and visiting an old girlfriend, now married.

David William Rabe (born March 10, 1940) is an American playwright and screenwriter. Girl by the Road at Night: A Novel of Vietnam (2010). "David Rabe Biography (1940-)". He won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1972 (Sticks and Bones) and also received Tony award nominations for Best Play in 1974 (In the Boom Boom Room), 1977 (Streamers) and 1985 (Hurlyburly). Retrieved 2016-05-06.

Some time ago, a Massachusetts bookseller named Ken Lopez listed 3,500 titles in a catalog of Vietnam War literature. No other American conflict, Lopez wrote, generated the outpouring of literary effort that Vietnam did. I can’t verify the accuracy of that statement; nor is there room here to explain why, 35 years after the war’s end, it continues to grip our collective imagination. But the books keep coming. Now here’s Girl by the Road at Night, the third novel by the Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe.

David Rabe's award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp .

David Rabe's award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp of a war that continues to haunt. Partially written upon his return from the war, "Girl by the Road at Night "is Rabe's first work of fiction set in Vietnam-a spare and poetic narrative about a young soldier embarking on a tour of duty and the Vietnamese prostitute he meets in country

Private Joseph Whitaker, with his Vietnam deployment papers in hand, spends his last weekend trying to find anyone who will acknowledge what he is about to do matters. Instead, Rabe subtitles it "a novel about Vietnam

Private Joseph Whitaker, with his Vietnam deployment papers in hand, spends his last weekend trying to find anyone who will acknowledge what he is about to do matters. In Saigon a prostitute, Quach Ngoc Lan, spends her days haggling and submitting to physical mortification - their chance encounter in Saigon forges a surprising connection. Instead, Rabe subtitles it "a novel about Vietnam. This is true, since there are no scenes of combat described anywhere, at least not directly. It is a story about two individuals whose lives are directly impacted by the Vietnam War, trying to find refuge in human companionship.

David Rabe’s award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp of a war that continues to haunt. Partially written upon his return from the war, Girl by the Road at Night is Rabe’s first work of fiction set in Vietnam—a spare and poetic narrative about a young soldier embarking on a tour of duty and the Vietnamese prostitute he meets in country.Private Joseph Whitaker, with Vietnam deployment papers in hand, spends his last free weekend in Washington, DC, drinking, attending a peace rally, and visiting an old girlfriend, now married. He observes his surroundings closely, attempting to find reason in an atmosphere of hysteria and protest, heightened by his own anger. When he arrives in Vietnam, he happens upon Lan, a local girl who submits nightly to the American GIs with a heartbreaking combination of decency and guile. Her family dispersed and her father dead, she longs for a time when life meant riding in water buffalo carts through rice fields with her brother. Whitaker’s chance encounter with Lan sparks an unexpected, almost unrecognized, visceral longing between two people searching for companionship and tenderness amid the chaos around them.In transformative prose, Rabe has created an atmosphere charged with exquisite poignancy and recreated the surreal netherworld of Vietnam in wartime with unforgettable urgency and grace. Girl by the Road at Night is a brilliant meditation on disillusionment, sexuality, and masculinity, and one of Rabe’s finest works to date.

Comments

Kazigrel Kazigrel
All muddy: a dreary tale told by a sodden dog of war. That's how I felt when I reached the end of this novel.
Wire Wire
"Girl by the Road at Night" was written by David Rabe. Mr. Rabe was born in Dubuque Iowa in 1940. Rabe earned an MA from Villanova University after being drafted into service in Vietnam in 1965. David Rabe is best known as an American playwright having won a Tony award for "Sticks and Bones" in 1972. He is the author of several novels. "Girl by the Road at Night" is his first work of fiction set in Vietnam.

This story is told by an anonymous narrator. Dialog is attributed to the person speaking. The prose is noticeably inelegant comprised of short terse sentences. The dialog of the Vietnamese is spoken in "pidgin English "style. A great deal of vulgar language permeates the narrative.

The story line involves the events surrounding a young soldier, Pvt. Joseph Whitaker and a Vietnamese prostitute, Quach Ngoc Lan known as Lan, during Whitakers service in the Vietnam war. The story opens with Whitaker spending his last free days in Washington DC at a peace rally while awaiting deployment to Vietnam. From there, the story takes up with Whitaker's chance meeting of Lan while he is attached to a medical outpost in Vietnam and the untoward attraction that they have for each other.

This novel seems to fail on three levels. In the first, the prose is terse with uninspiring metaphorical musings and some silly dialog such as this exchange: "What do cars say to one another? He thinks. They putt and sputter. What in the person is the spark? The use of "pidgin English" in conversation with Lan may work well in a play, but it was particularly vexing as conversation in this novel. It came across as silly and intellectually vacuous. In the second, the story line is no more than copious amounts of copulation. Whitaker can't seem to function a whole day without thinking about or having sexual relations and Lan's life as a prostitute seems only filled with that mission. Thirdly, the characters are zombie like. Whitaker, though twenty years old, is stuck mentally as a sixteen year old adolescent who only just discovered his sexuality. Lan is undecipherable, and shows no seeming purpose to her life except to entertain another customer. There is absolutely nothing interesting or endearing about any of these characters.

All and all, I thoroughly disliked this novel and perceive that most readers will too.
I therefore do not recommend it and rate it "Forgettable".
Falya Falya
I probably won't buy another David Rabe book.
I found the writing style artificial and alienating. The effect of that style is to make the main characters, Whittaker and Lan, even less engaging than they are. The plot is too slender to support the story. By the time I finished the book I felt, "Okay, so what?"
Mightdragon Mightdragon
Although I've long appreciated David Rabe's writings, I hadn't planned to read Girl by the Road at Night immediately after I bought it. However, when I went to bed and put it on my night table, I then thought "What the hell . . . ?" and began reading. Despite the late hour I read almost all that night, until sleep beat me. The next morning I quickly finished what is an extraordinary achievement: sort of a Great Gatsby of our time -- a short novel encapsulating some of the primary conditions governing life. For within the characters of Joe Whitaker and Quach Ngoc Lan exist the confusions we find in ourselves and through them the wariness we have toward others. Moreover, much of this confusion and wariness results from a human's need for love, friendship, the need for the Other other than ourselves. Girl by the Road at Night takes place in Vietnam during that war but is not a Vietnam War novel, per se. War, to be sure, is in the background, but it is the relationship of Lan and Whittaker that makes this novel special, a relationship that ultimately suggests sex is paradise but love is hell.

The first half of the Girl by the Road at Night concentrates and develops Whitaker's character, which is important for making the Lan / Whitaker relationship work. Lan, a prostitute, and Whitaker, a soldier, establish a good storyline as old as prostitution, as old as time. But great writing is created by the good story and its details, and here Rabe has beaten the Devil. One example is the moment when Whittaker, hauling sandbags, feels the sand bag pulling at his skin as he lowers it to the ground, a mundane detail, true, but one substantiating not only that moment but the novel's more exquiste details such as:
"He does not know how she woke in the night to eat an orange and stare at him and think of the legendary Old Man of the Moon who sits in moonlight reading his book in which are recorded the connections that will come between people in the world. Quick and silent as a spider, he puts a web of invisible, rosy threads throughout the world until all people everywhere who are destined to be pairs are linked in a secret, lovely manner. Down through their lives the threads draw the lovers, down the trails and rivers, from city to forest, until they finally meet and love. Holding in her palm a wedge of orange she didn't eat, Lan felt her threads running to the air. The wind had them No old man anywhere knew of her. Whittaker leaps aboard the Lambretta. He is debris, he knows, a leaf that arrived here on a wind and now, thank god, the gusts that brought him have known enough to return. In the comforting free rhythm of their wings, he rides away."

Such poetry provides relief from the ugliness of the life Lan and Whittaker find about them as their relationship permits a momentary escape to paradise. Inexorably, however, little lasting relief is in this world of ironies. For Whittaker, "a woman is a sometime thing"; for Lan a man can be the dream upon which a life may be built. These contrary threads thus construct only an incidental relationship whose whole, however, leads to tragedy - and an electrifying conclusion as honest as any novel's ending in our literature. Rabe has created a masterwork.