An American Sin
A NovelBook - 2001
"I killed because I was Asian fighting in an Asian war. How else could I prove I was American?" David Wong, the protagonist, asks. While on long-range patrol in Vietnam, he and his squad ran into an old Mama-san and her granddaughter. "We were in enemy territory. We couldn't handle excess baggage," he explains to his psychiatrist. "Our fear spawned a darkness in our hearts." "Waste 'em," the lieutenant said. No one moved. Then Wong did. "I came closer, the knife looming large over her. Her eyes widened. Then she looked me in the eye. It was a look of total disdain, total contempt. In those eyes, that face, that race, that culture, I saw my grandmother. But I pushed away the thought. I stabbed, I stabbed. My heart had turned as cold and dark as the jungle. The cold, cruel silvery blade turned red. Then I looked to the little girl." Haunted by what he had done, Wong's lifeline is tied to three people, Erlandson, his psychiatrist, and two women-one Chinese, one Caucasian. Only they can help him wend a path out of his morbid self-hate. Going across country, Wong meets the hero of My Lai. My Lai was the great American Sin, where American troops killed more than 500 unarmed civilians. Before this hero, Wong feels a great shame. Here was a round-eye who saved slant-eyes, and Wong was a slant-eye who killed slant-eyes. For what? The approbation of his comrades. The novel also follows the poignant story of Stella Abramson, whose husband Jake was killed in the Tet Offensive. He was Wong's buddy, representing Honor, Duty, and Sacrifice-an antithesis to Wong's character flaw. Their stories converge at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Book jacket.
Publisher: Bellingham, WA : bytewrite LLC, c2001
Characteristics: 338 p. ; 21 cm