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Girl by the Road at Night

A Novel of Vietnam

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


David Rabe’s award-winning Vietnam plays
have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp of a war that continues to haunt. Partially written upon his return from the war, Girl by the Road at Night is Rabe’s first work of fiction set in Vietnam—a spare and poetic narrative about a young soldier embarking on a tour of duty and the Vietnamese prostitute he meets in country.

Private Joseph Whitaker, with Vietnam deployment papers in hand, spends his last free weekend in Washington, DC, drinking, attending a peace rally, and visiting an old girlfriend, now married. He observes his surroundings closely, attempting to find reason in an atmosphere of hysteria and protest, heightened by his own anger. When he arrives in Vietnam, he happens upon Lan, a local girl who submits nightly to the American GIs with a heartbreaking combination of decency and guile. Her family dispersed and her father dead, she longs for a time when life meant riding in water buffalo carts through rice fields with her brother. Whitaker’s chance encounter with Lan sparks an unexpected, almost unrecognized, visceral longing between two people searching for companionship and tenderness amid the chaos around them.

In transformative prose, Rabe has created an atmosphere charged with exquisite poignancy and recreated the surreal netherworld of Vietnam in wartime with unforgettable urgency and grace. Girl by the Road at Night is a brilliant meditation on disillusionment, sexuality, and masculinity, and one of Rabe’s finest works to date.

From Publishers Weekly

12 April 2010 – Rabe, widely known for his Vietnam plays (Sticks and Bones; etc.), delivers his first Vietnam novel, a competent addition to a very busy subgenre. Pfc. Joseph Whitaker is a draftee from Platteville, Wis., who hopes he will learn how to repair cars in the army. Quach Ngoc Lan is a prostitute whose often abusive clients are GIs. After Whitaker arrives in-country, he, like nearly every GI he meets, spends his free time getting drunk or stoned and looking for sex, which is how he runs into Lan. Rabe presents Lan with some caution her interiority is murkier than Whitaker s as her feelings about Whitaker evolve and, in a haunting bit of foreshadowing, she s visited by her uncle, who wants a photo of her to put on the family altar. How that photo falls into Whitaker s hands, and what he does with it, is the plot s cruel point of convergence. Although Rabe doesn t add much to our understanding of Vietnam, this novel amply demonstrates the war s relentlessly dehumanizing power.
Girl by the Road at Night
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  • 12,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: 01 June 2010
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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