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Meditations in Green
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Meditations in Green

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  318 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Sardonic, searing, seductive and surreal, the award-winning Meditations in Green is regarded by many as the best novel of the Vietnam War. It is a kaleidoscopic collage that whirls about an indelible array of images and characters: perverted Winky, who opted for the army to stay off of welfare; eccentric Payne, who�s obsessed with the film he�s making of the war; bucol ...more
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by Charles Scribner's Sons (first published October 1st 1978)
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Jennifer (aka EM)
Oct 01, 2008 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anti-war activists; aficianadoes of 60s political/social history; voters
This is a book that has remained among my Top 10 since I first read it in about 1987 or so (it was originally published in 1983). I really can't say enough about it, and while I recognize that war novels are not to everyone's taste, I have long encouraged everyone I know to read it, even if it takes them out of their comfort zone. It's one of those novels that transcends its genre. It is, quite simply, a classic--or at least, it deserves to be. And yet, so few people have ever heard of it, or of ...more
The book cover states that this book is regarded by many as the best book ever about the Vietnam War, and having read most of the works considered part of the canon of that era, I in no small measure agree with the statement. It is nothing short of brilliant. The story (like other works of that era) is about a man’s struggle to adapt back to society as a vet, with enough flashbacks that you understand his mental and emotional wrestling. The prose is tight, the structure of the book is creative, ...more
Sitting here propped up in a chair for much of the past week, rendered immobile by a torn abdominal muscle, I’ve really gotten a chance to immerse myself in this twisted, profound novel. Reading it and entering the hallucination-addled mind of Vietnam serviceman James Griffin has been a transformative experience and one that’s offered me a strange kind of solace during this unsettling week. With 50 pages left to go, I couldn’t even wait to finish it before showing some love. The fact that it’s t ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alan by: Eccentric Muse
Shelves: novels, 2013
taken me a while to get to this.
..was smashed about the head by this, review later..
I came to this book via Wright's Going Native which was as I called it - lush, hyper-real/surreal and trippy - and this is the same, prose that glows.

Maybe I learnt nothing new in relation to war: maybe I'm Vietnammed (or war in general) out. What happens here covers familiar ground – it combines the hallucinatory horror of Apocalypse Now (released 3 years before) with the absurdity of Catch 22 (eg all the dogs i
Jan 27, 2010 Alison rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who think the Vietnam War is best served up as an acid flashback.
I'm not the aficionado of the massive heaps of art, literature, film and music left in the wake of the Vietnam War that some of my friends are . But this book and Robert Stone's "Dog Soldiers" transcend their peers on every possible level.

Note: this book is not for the faint-hearted. Additionally, Wright will make you feel like you're on drugs, whilst writing about other people being on drugs. This is not entirely a good thing.
Richard Jespers
A novel about Vietnam.

Green is indeed the motif here. Green is everywhere, and not just the lush jungle vegetation. If it had been my copy I would have underlined the word “green” hundreds of times throughout the book. Great alternation of first person point of view with third person during the war.

Wright goes Small. Large. The scene in which soldiers run to a shot-down helicopter to put U.S. soldiers in body bags and recover official business (which has already disappeared) is both graphic an
The man writes zero boring sentences. And I felt like I didn't breathe during the last 30 pages of this book.
Amazing writer.
He's the kind of writer that makes me want to quit writing.
Jonathan Briggs
Addict and war veteran James Griffin is fixated on foliage. In between flashbacks to Vietnam and addled encounters with his girlfriend Huey and his vengeance-crazed war buddy Trips, Griffin tries to get into the botanical mindset, contemplating all that is green and leafy. Stephen Wright is an insanely creative author. He drops at least one sentence per page or two that makes the reader stop, rewind, replay and admire all over again. Unfortunately, his cleverness sometimes comes at the expense o ...more
Steve Woods
Ptsd has become fashionable, the symptoms and descriptors described in the popular press have moved it from being a source of shame for those of us who finally succumbed to a desirable trait a topic of converstaion. It has become synonomous with the Vietnam War and a point of fascination for the wanna be's and the war junkie's. When I first collapsed under the weight after 30 years of struggle, I only found others who had seen and suffered, who knew what it was to experience the confusion and fe ...more
I had to begin this book again after a few years. The drug aspect of it left me cold at first. On my second reading I somehow got past that and am glad that I did. The book follows the pattern of being "changed" by the war, something that I myself fought against for quite a long time. The war, any war, will have long term effects upon the warriors, physically and emotionally. There are extremely strong elements of the novel that I was able to reflect on. The totally insanity that occurs during c ...more
Jude Joseph Lovell
One of the most searing war novels ever written, and nobody's ever heard of it. If you read it you will not forget it.
Hugh Martin
I didn't fully buy all of the "meditation in green" sections (they just bored me compared to the rest of the scenes, though I liked their concept). Overall, amazing stories and character sketches from the war. Most of these characters are what they call today, "Fobbits," those that do not leave base; their jobs usually involve them staying on base. However, being a Fobbit in the War in Vietnam and especially at this base in the book is a completely different story as they face a lot of fight fro ...more
I think Stephen Wright is an incredibly talented albeit flawed writer. I've now read all his books, my favorite being The Amalgamation Polka. I was wondering why this is and I came to the conclusion that that book, in addition to being lyrical, has the most narrative thrust to it. This novel, on the other hand, has the least "story" aspirations of his novels, and is more content to be simply a series of meandering wartime vignettes. The prose is beautiful -- if a bit overcooked (mushy pasta) at ...more
Mike Polizzi
A careening, off-kilter performance of war, vividly described and grittily detailed in explosive Technicolor, more a vivisection than a novel. It takes a sure hand to move a reader through this much chaos.
Theophilus (Theo)
The daily grind of the war in Vietnam takes its toll on certain members of an Army unit. These individuals were referred to as 'the heads' in the film "Platoon". They go about their jobs day-after-day regardless of weather, enemy actions, and the prejudices of their ultra-conservative sergeant. One of these servicemen, James, brings the memories back home with him (it's called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder now) and plots revenge on a man who he thinks is his old sergeant now in civilian life. V ...more
I had read a bunch of reviews saying that this novel was the novel on Vietnam. It was supposed to be better than any of Tim O'Brien's pieces. This isn't a bad novel, but O'brien's works -- particularly Going After Cacciato -- have much more depth. This has the absurdity of Catch-22 and the horror of Apocalypse Now. But from a literary standpoint, it isn't as powerful in language and imagery. Not a bad book, but didn't live up to the hype I had heard.
"I don't know, maybe it's me, but I couldn't make any sense of it at all. I mean, there's no beginning, no middle, no end. There's no coherence. It just kind of settles over you. Like a musty tent."

Our hero, Spec. 4 James Griffin, is speaking above, but it's also a perfect description of the book, which reads like a memoir, wrapped inside a nightmare -- as brilliant, brutal and poetic as it is almost incomprehensibly bizarre.
More of the same from one of our finest prose stylists. Meditations in Green is a bit richer in symbolism than Wright's later work but also a bit more uneven in pacing; the novel drags just a bit in the midsection. But even in this first novel we see the author's prose style emerging. Wright's prose is hallucinatory, it is euphoric and it is spiritual.
One of the best books i've ever read and certainly the only book to have read more than twice - just keep going back for more, depending on how my perspective has changed over the years. Surreal, narratively brilliant, drug-soaked, funny and utterly sad. Not just a war book, but a book about how a person deals with reality and the merits of escaping it.
Leopold Bienkowski-gibbs
Awesome read. Not the best book ever, but up there as far as war novels I'v read. And the writing.. I read a lot of sections out loud. Stephen Wright has a wonderful way with words that really rubbed me the right way. I will definitely keep an eye out for any other novels he has written, if he has (I hope so!!).
Brilliant writing! Mordant humor. The Hell and futility of Vietnam is limned devastatingly. It missed 5 stars because it went on an on, long after it had made it points about the Hell and futility of Vietnam.
Pynchonesque with all that implies but also imbued with the particular horror that the Vietnam war can bring to a book. Probably the one book where I laughed while being horrified.
Killian Lord
Incredibly interesting book. Really thought provoking with great concepts. Writing can be all over the place at times, and setting/time period shifts abruptly at times. Overall a good read.
senator jensen
Good for LSD-addled Vietnam conflict hi jinx. Not to diminish its scope; really good if you have an interest in that particular American Nightmare.
I'm about a third of the way through, and while I admire this book, I am just not in the mood for it now. Another day.
I read this for a Literature of War class I had in college and I was really impressed and engaged.
Well, I thought it was just fantastic.

But Wright is maybe a bit too in love with his metaphors.
A superb brutally honest book. those who glory in war should be forced to read it.
Very disturbing. Twisted. I liked it very much.
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Stephen Wright (born 1946) is a novelist based in New York City known for his use of surrealistic imagery and dark comedy. His work has varied from hallucinatory accounts of war (Meditations in Green), a family drama among UFO cultists (M31: A Family Romance), carnivalesque novel on a serial killer(Going Native), to a picaresque taking place during the Civil War ("The Amalgamation Polka"). He has ...more
More about Stephen Wright...
Going Native The Amalgamation Polka M31: A Family Romance Operation Tonga - The Glider Assault: 6/6/1944 No Nonsense Guide: Sydney

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