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Because the Rain    by Daniel Buckman order for
Because the Rain
by Daniel Buckman
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2008 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Daniel Buckman, author of Because the Rain, has produced what Library Journal calls 'a gripping novel of fragile psyches pushed to the breaking point ... recommended for readers who thrive on dark themes and low-key intensity.'

Iconic Vietnamese war images - of General Nguyen shooting a Viet Cong prisoner in the head and a naked child fleeing from napalm - are used to show how such events changed the perception of Vietnam in the United States through the years. Ex-soldiers Donald Goetzler and Mike Spence are trying to reinvent themselves after the war but are finding it very difficult. Both engage the services of the same Asian call girl, Annie.

Spence always had the dream of being a writer and instead becomes a beat cop. To me, it was a bad choice for someone dealing with the extreme violence that he encountered during the war. What are his reasons? Goetzler wants the world not to forget the war and why it happened. Is that an impossible task? Annie the call girl has her own agenda.

As a woman, Because the Rain did not appeal to me. I think it's a book that many more men than women will read, enjoy and understand. A third novel for Buckman, Because the Rain is a sometimes confusing read despite its gripping writing. But Buckman speaks with conviction of the Vietnam experience and I concur with Publishers Weekly's assessment that it's 'a bleak but redeeming read.'

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