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In Country (Mason) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
An impressive first novel.... The novel, at its most polemic, is an indictment of our Government's casual attitude toward those who survived an unpopular war but are having difficulty surviving civilian life. More comfortable with an amiable cat named Moon Pie than with his former sweetheart, Emmett expresses his distress in words that could be echoed across the country: ''There's something wrong with me. I'm damaged. It's like something in the center of my heart is gone and I can't get it back.''
Joel Conarroe - New York Times  (9/15/1985)


A brilliant and moving book...a moral tale that entwines public history with private anguish.
Richard Eder - Los Angeles Times


Mason's message is simple: the war dead are us—we are them—and, whatever political stance we took with regard to Vietnam, we are all Americans united by one past, one flag, one history.
Mary Mackey - San Francisco Chronicle


The size and importance of its subject and the richness of emotion that underpins it make the novel satisfying. It’s as impressive a work of fiction as I’ve read recently, on Vietnam or any other subject.
Robert Wilson - USA Today


Sam Hughes, whose father was killed in Vietnam, lives in rural Kentucky with her uncle Emmett, a veteran whom she suspects is suffering from exposure to Agent Orange. Sam is a typical teenager, trying to choose a college, anticipating a new job at the local Burger Boy, sharing intimacies with her friend Dawn, breaking up with her high school boyfriend, and dealing with her feelings for Tom, one of Emmett's buddies. Sam feels that her life is bound to the war in Vietnam and becomes obsessed with the idea because of the reluctance of her family and Tom to talk about it. Her father's diary finally provides the insight she seeksinsight she cannot accept until she has visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. In Country is both a powerful and touching novel of America that analyzes the impact of the 1960s on the culture of the 1980s and a beautiful portrayal of an often forgotten area of the country. Essential for adult and YA collections. —Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale Lib
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