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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Literary Novel Takes on Vietnam

Title: The Second Tour
Author: Terry P. Rizzuti
Category: Literary Fiction or War Novel
ISBN#: 978-1-906755-01-0
Publisher: Spinetinglers Publishing

Reviewed by Nolene P. Dougan
Reviewer’s Link:

Reviewer’s Rating: 5*

“What was it like in Vietnam—How in the hell do you describe it?”

This is clearly a question about which the author of The Second Tour, Terry P. Rizzuti, has thought long and hard. The results of his deliberation are found within the pages of his stunning debut novel, a work in which readers discover an intriguing and compellingly fresh answer.

The Second Tour tells the story of Vietnam in fragmented, non-sequential visions from the perspective of Rootie, a low-level marine. He describes how he and his friends survived, how they lived, and how they died—although not necessarily in that order. By also giving readers brief glimpses of his life after Vietnam, he allows them to see the tremendous impact that serving in Vietnam for just thirteen months has had on his life.

Despite his descriptions of the hardships of war, Rizzuti does not make any moral judgments about the men who fought in Vietnam. Rizzuti tells his story in a frank and subtle manner that prevents him from using the clich├ęs to which so many authors of his genre resort. His matter-of-fact, conversational style often makes readers feel as if they have wandered into a bar where a Vietnam veteran is telling his story by recalling bits and pieces of what he remembers—maybe showing them the odd letter that he wrote home while Bob Dylan songs play on the jukebox.

Rizzuti’s style of writing completely captivates and intrigues his audience. As his story jumps decades, often within the span of several paragraphs, readers are frequently uncertain from which location or year the narrator is speaking as they read the initial line of any section. Although this may sound confusing or complicated to some potential readers, at no time do readers become overwhelmed, or does the novel become overly convoluted. Because Rootie’s flawlessly flowing narrative links all the events together, it is of no consequence that the events are narrated out of sequence; in fact, such a style of narration only adds to the enjoyment of this refreshing take on a subject that has been often explored.

In short, The Second Tour’s honesty, sincerity, and authenticity makes it clear from the beginning that this novel could only have been written by someone who was actually in Vietnam. Although a work of fiction, The Second Tour is based on events few have experienced, providing a fascinating insight into war and the boys who eventually become men when they are sent to fight it.

The Second Tour is not only an electrifying read for fans of the genre, but also a fitting epitaph for those who lost their lives far away from home.

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