“Dragon House,” is a novel of exceptional beauty, a love story of multi-dimension, and a healing experience for all who know the Viet Nam War.
John Shors has become one of my favorite authors of the 21st century. I believe he is the voice of our recent past, and a voice of the humanity in all of us as we struggle to keep what is good and moral against a tide of selfishness and instability in our world.
Mr. Shors is an author of exceptional capabilities with characterization conveying feelings and angst that will so touch your heart that you feel actually set within the place and time with his characters.
Having lived through the Viet Nam War as a child of the ’60’s, I found this book especially interesting. I have not been able to read about the War, per se. It was a time of loss and anger and confusion for me. A time I just haven’t cared to scrutinize. But, this book gave me a way of “looking” that was thoughtful, caring and healing.
Through the eyes of Iris, the daughter of a Viet Nam veteran left with post traumatic stress syndrome and memories he could only heal by going back to create a home for street children; we see, hear, smell and feel the thriving, messy, whirling, beautiful, dangerous and noisy place called Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Siagon. I found many of the things surprisingly familiar to me…through pictures that were flashed daily on the t.v. when our boys were over there, I suppose. I could see through Shors writings the brightness of colors, smell the food, hear the horn blasts, and shiver at the sufferings. John Shors didn’t miss a beat.
Iris goes to Viet Nam to continue her father’s dream and to help the street children, bringing with her a life-long friend…a now wounded, permanently handicapped vet. of the Iraqi War, who is suffering and suicidal. This character boldly gives the reader insight into all veterans returning with injuries of body, mind and spirit from the horrors of war. Along with an eternally hopeful Vietnamese woman, they work to complete the Center for Street Children that will become the catalyst for their own salvations.
Through their work, inspiration, and close companionships with a little group of starving, abused and critically ill children, Iris and Noah find a new place of rest for all. And, that included me.
I highly recommend this book for all and everyone. John Shors is an author who needs to be read because he will be one to make a mark in these coming years. He’s an American writer of note and value.
I also recommend this book because it’s good for those of us who have come through the Viet Nam War (a war not successful and not popular with the American people) and are going through the Iraqi/Afghani War…another one which may have a similar outcome. We might find some solace in the fact that we will survive. Timely and healing…. please read this book for many reasons.
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