Gerald's Reviews > The Man from Saigon

The Man from Saigon by Marti Leimbach
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's review
May 17, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, genre-fiction, genre-history, theme-military, theme-pows, theme-war

In 1967, Susan Gifford, a correspondent for a women’s magazine, is sent on assignment to cover the Vietnam War with articles from a woman’s perspective. It is intended that she remain in the relatively “safe” confines of Saigon. However, in search of stories she begins to venture out a little - to a hospital here or an orphanage there. She meets and befriends a Vietnamese photographer named Son, who wants a way to get his photographs in U.S. publications publications, and Susan, for her part, recognizes the considerable benefit she would derive from having someone fluent in Vietnamese to interpret for her. Soon she finds herself going out closer to the battle areas with Son. In the meantime she has begun a somewhat serious relationship with a married TV reporter.

During one outing she and Son get a little too close to a battle. When they end up running “for safety” the wrong way, they are captured by 3 young Viet Cong who became separated from their unit during the aftermath of the same battle. About three quarters of the book, deals with evolving relationships of these five individuals -- Susan and Son as the captives and the 3 Viet Cong as the captors trying desperately to find their way to the unit from which they have become lost so they can turn over their captives.

I listened to the CD audio version of this book and frequently found it somewhat difficult to follow as the narrative jumped from one perspective to another, seemingly without a good transition. It would go from what was happening to Susan and Son as captives then suddenly jump to their fellow reporters in Saigon who were trying to “stir up” the Army to do more about their rescue, to several other scenarios. Of course, this was to keep the multiple parts of the overall story going so they could come logically together at the end. They did, in fact, do that very thing, resolving for me for the most part the earlier confusion I felt.

I did like this book fairly well, especially from having been in South Vietnam during this timeframe. It provides an unusual view of that war, i.e., that of a non-combatant female taken captive by the enemy. I do recommend it to those who think they might be interested.

[Book 47 of revised 2012 target 70 (Jan-10; Feb-11; Mar-9; Apr-8; May-7; Jun-2)]
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Reading Progress

May 17, 2012 – Started Reading
May 17, 2012 – Shelved
May 17, 2012 –
page 25
May 19, 2012 –
page 84
May 25, 2012 –
page 154
May 26, 2012 –
page 188
May 30, 2012 –
page 237
June 2, 2012 –
page 272
June 3, 2012 –
page 291
June 4, 2012 –
page 300
June 6, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012
June 6, 2012 – Shelved as: genre-fiction
June 6, 2012 – Shelved as: genre-history
June 6, 2012 – Shelved as: theme-military
June 6, 2012 – Shelved as: theme-pows
June 6, 2012 – Shelved as: theme-war
June 6, 2012 – Finished Reading

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