Looking for the Summer
Robert W. Norris
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David Thompson is a former Vietnam War conscientious objector in Paris on a quest to find himself in the early days of 1977. When he befriends an Iranian and an Afghan and is invited to return with them to their countries, his quest slowly becomes a descent into his own private hell.
On the road from Europe to the East he encounters Kurdish bandits in the eastern mountains of Turkey, becomes involved with an underground group opposed to the Shah in Iran, escapes to Afghanistan, passes through Pakistan during the uprising against the Bhutto regime, and suffers extreme sickness on the streets of Delhi and Calcutta. Although continually searching for the happiness and identity he could not find in the U.S., he cannot easily shed his American past. Throughout the journey he is hounded by the demons of memory, particularly that of his father, a World War II hero who disowned David and died while David was still in prison. The journey itself becomes a physical manifestation of his struggle to achieve reconciliation with his own conscience.
This picaresque novel is interspersed with a multitude of characters whose philosophical, political, and religious opinions influence David greatly in his search. It is rich with the fascination of adventure in countries not easily accessible anymore to Westerners, vibrant with its diversity of characters, and graphic in its descriptions of poverty, death, and disease. "Looking for the Summer" is a remarkable adventure story of a man about to lose his youth and find his true self in ancient lands.