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Tatjana Soli's Blog

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 On the Lit Life blog, I was asked the question: What novel made you want to become a writer? This was the answer. I was in college when my favorite writing teacher told me to read the Wide Sargasso Sea, a kind of prequel to Jane Eyre by Jean Rhys. As an English major, you are drowned in...
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6) Nam Ai, Nguyen Thanh Thuy. When I started listening to classical Vietnamese music, I sampled many other musicians. But to my novice’s ear, Thuy’s playing is really special. The nature of this music is improvisatory, every performance differing, and so the musician’s skill and style make a great...
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 This music is wonderful. Please give it a try! 5) Vong Co (Nostalgia of the Past), Nguyen Thanh Thuy. This classical musician plays the Vietnamese instrument called the dan tranh, which is a kind of plucked zither. You can find her on YouTube, and her album “Doc Tau Dan Tranh” is well worth...
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4) Paint It Black, the Rolling Stones. Okay, I LOVED the Stones all through my teenage years, so this was easy. But “P.I.B.” especially has this wild rebellion in it. The song was written only a year after “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by the Animals, but they seem like well-mannered schoolboys...
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3) Somebody to Love, Jefferson Airplane. This is one of the quintessential songs that we associate with the war, but that’s not why I listened to it over and over again. There’s this haunting, hard, spooky feeling in the music. You can’t help but go inside your head listening to it; you divorce...
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Modern wars are remembered in images, from Robert Capa’s Falling Soldier during the Spanish Civil War to Joe Rosenthal’s Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima during WWII, to the more recentpictures in Iraq of prisoners at Abu Ghraib or Stephanie Sinclair’s photo of a dead Iraqi girl. These are images so...
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  2) Tell It Like It Is, Aaron Neville. I discovered Aaron Neville when my family lived in Oklahoma and Texas and we would get music at the Blues Festival in New Orleans. My mother’s daughter, I blasted my Neville Brothers tape over and over while driving from Texas to California for college...
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Earlier this month Paper Cuts ran a playlist for The Lotus Eaters. I thought I'd have some fun over the next week linking to my favorite versions on You Tube for selections from it. So if you want a trip down memory lane, or an intro to the 60's, or have an interest in Vietnamese classical music,...
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 With a break in my touring schedule, I wanted to quickly write about something near and dear to my heart. A while ago, I posted about a petition to the UN to keep the ban on ivory from being lifted. In the craziness of publication, I neglected to post a follow-up, which was that public outcry was...
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People Magazine did a nice review of The Lotus Eaters. “The novel is steeped in history, yet gorgeous sensory details enliven the prose… 35 years after the fall of Saigon, Soli’s entrancing debut brings you close enough to feel a part of it."
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I did a podcast interview with Sam Tanenhaus of the New York Times. Click here to listen:   http://papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/book-review-podcast-new-vietnam-war-novels/
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Though the novel explores war primarily from the journalists' viewpoint, the secondary characters are generously drawn. In Soli's hands, edgy, frightened soldiers and hardened commanders rise above stock characters. But Helen is at the heart of this story as she, like many journalists, pays a dear...
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I had fun doing an interview at the blog, Suko's Notebook. Here's the first question and a link to the rest of the interview: 1. Welcome, Tatjana! Please tell us about the inspiration behind your debut novel, The Lotus Eaters. Was there a "final straw" which compelled you to write this...
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It is April 1975. The North Vietnamese are marching into Saigon, the Americans are fleeing in helicopters. And in Tatjana Soli’s splendid first novel, “The Lotus Eaters,” a group of Western journalists sip “liberated” Champagne on the roof of the Caravelle Hotel as they reflect on all that has been...
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 Tatjana Soli’s haunting debut novel begins where it ought to end. In this quietly mesmerizing book about journalists covering the war in Vietnam, the first glimpses of the place are the most familiar. The year is 1975. Americans are in a state of panic as North Vietnamese forces prepare to occupy...
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