The Alphabet of Vietnam by Jonathan Chamberlain

When men come back from war they bring the war back with them …

Having read two of Jonathan Chamberlain’s memoirs – King Hui about a Hong Kong playboy and Wordjazz for Stevie, a touching tribute to Jonathan’s late daughter who was born profoundly handicapped – I was really looking forward to reading ‘The Alphabet of Vietnam’ and seeing how Jonathan turns his hand to fiction. I was more than impressed. It is an exceptional piece of writing, well researched, one that explores the light and dark in every ‘man’s’ soul in a refreshingly unapologetic manner.

The story unfolds through a series of skillfully interwoven narratives: Two psychotic – or perhaps completely sane – Vietnam veterans who bring their sick war games home with them. A brother who comes to question all he believes in an attempt to do what is right. A return to modern-day Vietnam that explores US war crimes and the country’s rich history and culture through a series of cleverly though out vignettes.

‘And then there is love – and love is complicated …’

What a great book!

Chris Thrall is the author of Eating Smoke: One Man’s Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong’s Triad Heartland – a bestselling true story.