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After Disasters

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3.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,167 ratings  ·  143 reviews
Beautifully and hauntingly written, After Disasters is told through the eyes of four people in the wake of a life-shattering earthquake in India.

An intricate story of love and loss weaves together the emotional and intimate narratives of Ted, a pharmaceutical salesman turned member of the Disaster Assistance Response Team; his colleague Piotr, who still carries with him the scars
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Hardcover, 282 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by Little A
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Colby Ted hasn't found himself yet. Isn't comfy in his own skin. Hasnt found his calling. Maybe a bit of depression?? Sensitive soul. Questions everything.…moreTed hasn't found himself yet. Isn't comfy in his own skin. Hasnt found his calling. Maybe a bit of depression?? Sensitive soul. Questions everything. Would like a loved companion but hasn't been able to give himself totally - that's why the relationships don't last. The author did a good job of unveiling his personality. And the research to go into this book - incredible. We see a totally different world of damage, danger and giving. Wow!(less)
Sam Bradley It's a preorder on Amazon and not available until Sept 13th. The rating probably came from someone asked to do a review.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,167 ratings  ·  143 reviews


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Steve
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Kindle First selection worth selecting.

A mosaic, a collection of snapshots, seemingly jumbled vignettes of those (committed and dedicated) individuals brought together by disaster through the global community of disaster relief, rapid response, rescue, and aid. Pieced together, there's a story of sorts, a carefully crafted puzzle with more than enough content and emotion to construct a compelling, thought-provoking, and frequently moving novel.

Warning and disclosures: this i
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Sarah
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq-characters, own
Not a comfortable book, but an excellent one; Dinh focuses on four men working in disaster recovery. He's giving complex answers to the question of why we serve - why some people run TOWARDS trouble; why folks far away can better grasp and empathize post-disaster when the narrative focuses on a single named individual; why relief workers burn out or stay in the career forever. The style is hyper-realistic - if you've ever considered the logistics of how Doctors Without Borders or international d ...more
Angie Boyter
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often skip the free Kindle First read that is offered each month, but this August offer sounded intriguing, and I made a good choice!
Beautifully written story of aid workers in India. Could have been a 5 except that it had a lot of time transitions that were not handled completely smoothly; I didn't see quite enough resolution at the end; and there was a twist at the end that I considered very cliched.
BUT definitely worth a read.
NOTE: There are prominent homosexual characters here
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Lisa
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read this as a Kindle First pick, and it's not my usual type of read (as a disclaimer here). Also a disclaimer: It explores male sexuality and that seemed to bother a lot of the Amazon reviewers.

I think the author bit off more than he could chew. It screamed "I am trying to be a Serious Literary Story!" but it was more meandering and confusing than anything else to me.

The book explores the lives of four men who respond to the 2001 earthquake in India. Their lives become
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S.M. Johnson
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a raw and gritty story set in the aftermath of an earthquake in India. The characters are foreign rescue workers, who arrive to supply aid after a natural disaster. The characters are well developed and all have their different reasons for why they've joined agencies providing disaster relief.

It is a literary work, which does keep the pace of the story a bit more slow than I'm used to, but I think it's well-suited for this story, and the sheer magnitude of what it feels like
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Roman Clodia
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
An absorbing read that follows a set of characters all involved in aid work. The writing sometimes gets a bit loose and out of control but the nuances and complexity of the book lie in the characters and the background politics - thoughtful and unusual, and I look forward to what Dinh does next.
dave
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
There's overlapping stories at work here that Dinh manages to pull together. The epilogue took a lot of the punch away for me, but before that there's a couple of chapters that are absolutely superb captures of grief and shock. One includes a litany of questions that is dizzying in its continual stream of emotional wallops. But getting there is a little uneven and disjointed. Rather than allowing each character the range and development they deserve, there is some lack of depth that doesn't quit ...more
Tertia R Armstrong
Humans in crisis

Excellent verbiage to describe those pondering the mysteries of life and death. Set in disaster rescue and recovery or humanitarian aid crises throughout the world, the author's characters look both inward and externally to find purpose and meaning in their lives. Whether they explore life choices about their sexual orientation, failed relationships, or attachment to their life mission each looks for insight on how to live. Or what is worth dying for.
Corinne
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Too episodic, the story needed to be more invested in one or two of the story lines instead of being spread so thinly across multiple narrators. It almost felt like Andy and Ted's story but then everyone else became distracting and out of place. It also felt a little too hero-complex-ish. There was no perspective of those living in the disaster, only those doing the "rescuing", which seemed like a big omission.
Timi
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was one of thebooks offered free to Kindle users who also have Amazon Prime. A moving story, set in the immediate aftermath of a fictional earthquake in India, is narrated by four characters who are working in disaster relief. But they are not immune to personal disaster during the week that they are there. Excellent read. I recommend highly!
Lisa
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a beautiful, heartbreaking book about international rescue workers after a disaster.
Sara Habein
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book I've read this year so far. Full of all the best, hard stuff: love, lust, loneliness and longing. Get your mitts on this book.
Luke Reynolds
I remember being terrified as I learned about natural disasters from The Weather Channel as a kid. Watching tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes destroy houses and lives all in the blink of an eye was terrifying, and it probably didn't help that these events were accented by dramatic music and narration. I believed that every single time we'd have a severe thunderstorm warning, it would mean death was arriving at my doorstep. I know that isn't true anymore (and I'm always shocked when severe w ...more
Karin
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting setting, for sure, but maybe it was too many characters, or too many POV changes, that kept this book from really locking in for me. It follows a number of different aid workers in India after a catastrophic earthquake, and also flashes back to a prior time when two of the characters first met.
Bethany
This book has all the elements of a great story but for some reason they don't quite fit together. I had a difficult time relating to the characters and following Dinh's somewhat disconnected method of storytelling. I think these stories that Dinh is trying to weave together do have something to say about the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of horrific disaster, but it's hard to follow this meaning throughout the story.
Judy
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Powerful, sad, and difficult. Intertwined stories of international relief workers come together after an earthquake in India. Deeper stories of relationships and commitment make this intense reading.
Len Joy
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
On January 26, 2000 an earthquake occurred in the area of Bhuj, India. It lasted for over 2 minutes and killed over 13,000 people and destroyed nearly a half million homes.

It seems like almost every month we read about some horrific natural or man-made disaster. We get video and pictures and statistics and maybe we contribute a few dollars to do our part while we marvel, briefly, at the selfless, heroic rescue workers. Then we turn the page.

Viet Dinh, in this excellent debut novel m
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Ming
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow.

A few favorite quotes:

"Ted feels something rise inside him and he knows exactly what it is: his past life, the one he thought he'd left behind, incomplete, in India two years ago. There it is, crowding out his current life, bringing with it a long ledger of error and grievances to rectify. His past life jumps in his mouth, leaving him dumbstruck. His past life stands before him, with that wry smile, concentrated on the right side of the face..."

"Outside, the darkness
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Mary
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I was expecting to like this book - winner of an O. Henry award and set in a country I love - it had the potential for poignancy.
Truly, the author is a brilliant writer, painting pictures with words skillfully and fluidly. I expected the content to be gritty due to the subject matter, but I also expected to characters to rise above the grit. I was disappointed by the latter - maybe I shouldn't have had that expectation, but if they weren't to rise above the grit, then perhaps there's some
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Julie  Webb
In the end I should have quit. It wasn't worth finishing. I couldn't shake the feeling that this wanted to be deep, literary, transcending; but never quite accomplished any of these things. The premise is a very good one. Somewhere in the middle I felt, perhaps, that this book should have been refocused on the the homosexual relationship of one of the main threads of the book. His longing, unknowing, fears of living within a culture of HIV and his partner. The men he meets later and transversing ...more
Lori
Sep 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was a goodreads first reads winner of this giveaway. I received a kindle version of this book. I would give this a 3.5. The story revolves around a major earth quake that happens in India. it focuses around four different men. Dev, A doctor who lives in India, Andy a firefighter who has been flown to India, Ted a Pharmaceutical salesman from America. and Piotr from Bosnia who is an aid worker specializing in disasters. This takes place over a couple weeks and what how the four men come togethe ...more
Joyce A. Wendeln
It's Not For Me

The story line sounds good. I started the book over 5 times but fell asleep by the time I got to 20% through. This does not mean you will not enjoy the book,; it just means it's not for me.
Macartney
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new, gay-lit, hiv-aids
The middle section about Ted and Dev makes the whole book worthwhile.
Gina
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So beautifully written; really I'd like to give this 4.5 stars. A rare gem in the Kindle First free promo
Hazel
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a free Kindle first book courtesy of Amazon Prime. I chose this because I thought I should take a break from the fluffy mysteries and romances that I had previously chosen.
This was an interesting, well-written book. It deals with people whose job is to travel around the world as part of disaster relief agencies; in this case, the main characters have come to the site of an earthquake in India. The portrayal of their work and the plight of the people is thought-provoking--the precarious
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Monica
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
After Disasters is a series of graphic, painful pictures of the destruction, suffering, death and horror that follows a major earthquake in India, with an occasional moment of grace in which humanity accomplishes a minor miracle. It looks at the reasons why people travel halfway around the world, risking their lives and health for the remote possibility of helping a stranger. Ted is from New York, a former pharmaceutical sales rep, unable to cope with his guilt about his failure to cope with the ...more
Karin
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read this as an audiobook. Excellent reader for a less than good book. It was interesting enough in parts, but overall as a novel it is a weak and odd book.

I finished it just because I tend to want to finish books I've started if they're halfway good. But the end was not worth it. Very odd way of dealing with what is actually two separate topics (the disaster relief scene/homosexual relationships and HIV). The two topics were somehow not well meshed, sometimes it seemed to be about one thing
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Jenny
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disasters on every scale: natural disasters, epidemics, personal relationships, professional relationships, mental health, economics, politics—this book brings out the ways in which lives are enmeshed within a fabric resulting from the interplay between multiple disasters on all scales. In each case, such disasters are rendered not as exceptional, but rather as normative in a way that thus interrogates their identity as disasters while simultaneously never denying that identity.

The writing itse
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Blue
Fantastic novel about some of the toughest stuff of the human condition. Viet Dinh's After Disasters dissects the human condition within the particular bubble of the disaster relief efforts. Told from the point of view of two foreigners (Ted, a naive American who is new to disaster relief work, and Andy, a young British fireman, who is on his first ever disaster rescue) and an Indian doctor, Dev, the story takes place during the 2001 Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat. Dinh expertly weaves in the storie ...more
Richbern
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. A difficult book to give an accurate rating because with all of its successes it still falls short. The story of four disaster relief workers responding to a catastrophic earthquake in India, it's more about these volunteers discovering who they really are than about the disaster itself. The writing is beautiful and there are long sections that are both insightful and riveting. Yet the overall effect is a novel so unfocused and so disjointed that the reader is left wanting much, much ...more
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“You cannot find what you need. You must create what you need for yourself.” 1 likes
“The moment the earthquake hits, Ted has a premonition: a burning sensation on his feet. Not the pins and needles from sitting cross-legged for too long, but like the restlessness of the soles after standing on the subway for an hour. Like the blood wants to burst from his skin. No blinding vision, no sudden trance—it’s not until weeks later that he realizes what the feeling was. But in the future, he won’t tell the story this way.” 0 likes
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