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Paperback Meditations in Green Book

ISBN: 0316427284

ISBN13: 9780316427289

Meditations in Green

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good*

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Book Overview

One of the greatest Vietnam War novels ever written, by an award-winning writer who experienced it firsthand.Deployed to Vietnam with the U.S. Army's 1069 Intelligence Group, Spec. 4 James Griffin starts out clear-eyed and hardworking, believing he can glide through the war unharmed. But the kaleidoscope of horrors he experiences gets inside him relentlessly. He gradually collapses and ends up unstrung, in step with the exploding hell around him and...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Imagine Catch-22 about Vietnam as written by an incredible prose stylist

It's obvious, having read the two so close to each other, that Meditations in Green is heavily influenced and inspired by Catch-22, but it's also obvious that whatever its genesis, Meditations is a wholly unique work. Like Catch-22, Wright takes a massive array of characters and creates a book more about episodes than a cohesive narrative; while it's not as train-of-thought as Heller's work, it's still wandering from story to story, jumping from character to character. But while Catch-22 is laugh out loud funny, Meditations is filled with the sort of humor that always seems to arise from books about Vietnam - that dark, brooding humor than only results in uncomfortable silence from those of us who weren't there. There's also unimaginable horrors here, as well as copious drug use; in other words, it's definitely Catch-22 filtered through the Vietnam experience. But the feel of the book is wholly different. There are no innocents in Wright's world, only less damaged people, and no one comes out unscathed. "It meant there were cliffs where he once assumed there were fences," Wright writes about a character who discovers unpleasant truths about the war, and that feeling of trying to cope with and comprehend the horrors of Vietnam permeate the book. But what will always set apart Wright's work, especially Meditations, is the masterful writing. Wright brings a wholly new dialogue and language to the book, crafting images of the jungle as massive, abandoned hotels, or creating a nightmarish firework display and a torn, leaking sky out of a midnight gun battle as observed by stoned soldiers. The combination all adds up to a book unlike anything you have ever read, creating an experience that lingers in a visceral, vibrant way long after the book is done. There's no through message here, no central metaphor, no ability to laugh at the war; there are only survival techniques - be they drugs, insanity, routine - and horrors. What Wright creates is one of the finest, most literate, and most sadly neglected books about Vietnam ever written. An unknown masterpiece.

To the molecular level

The premis of Meditations in Green is just the start of this journey into a book that rates the highest praise in the pantheon of Vietnam War literature. Some of the scenes created are so vivid, the sweat began to drip from my brow and I thought I was bleeding. It is that good. And that sad. The contrast of the steamy jungle battlefield and the blandness of the world back home is powerful. A truly great book. Ron Lealos author of Don't Mean Nuthin'

Bitter and Shocking but Brilliant

James Griffin uses drugs, not to forget the Vietnam War, but to remember. Home, in the United States, James finds life rife with loneliness and alienation. The Vietnam War, he tells us, really didn't mean anything; all of the fighting was, and will become, fruitless.James' girlfriend, Huey, is a painter of sorts who paints graffiti on walls, graffiti she calls "soulographs." These soulographs are huge abstractions of the war. James' wall is covered with them, so he whitewashes all of his walls and asks Huey to paint something new. But while she is in the process, the old soulographs begin to bleed through, causing James to experience a flashback to his Vietnam years where he imagines himself in the middle of battle with flashes and flares and rifles all around.In a surrealistic and utterly brilliant and original manner, Wright manages to show us all the similarities of the Vietnam War and life as we lead it on a day-to-day basis. His protagonist, James, realizes these connections and begins to meditate, to escape these similarities, to escape the absurdity of life, both then and now.Meditations in Green is a highly symbolic and surreal book. Wright, one of the most brilliant and original writers of the twentieth century, writes this novel in a very elusive manner, using very elusive narrative strategies and structural principles, organizing the book in interesting, overlapping, spiraling circles, which often echo, duplicate and bleed through one another much in the way Huey's soulographs do.By attempting to devolve himself down to a plant form, James hopes to purge himself of his memories and antipathy towards nature and its eternal cycle of birth and death and rebirth. He is, like all of Wright's characters, very flawed, but these very flaws are what make him so human and let us identify with him and his sufferings.Stephen Wright is a brilliant writer, but one whose extremism has caused him to be sadly undervalued by the general public. For some reason, I don't believe Wright care much about this. We should care, however, for Wright is brilliant, original, creative and absurd. His books are surrealism, black comedy, absurdism and postmodern literature of the very highest order. Wright is a writer not to be missed by anyone even remotely interested in great literature, postmodern or otherwise.

five star general

The fact that this book is receiving so little attention encourages me to start a ten-page rant, but as that will never be reproduced, let me just say that it's an absolute travesty that this author is being essentially neglected. Any comparison to Mailer or Vonnegut or O'Brien is absolutely superfluous. This is a unique American voice, a John the Babtist crying in the wilderness and feeding on locusts, but the blind will never hear. This is an Artist in the strictest sense who moves and shapes print in ways that others cannnot hope to emulate. I have no reservations in raising his standard in whatever rung of hell we find ourselves in at present. This is the real deal, people. Put away your childish things and read the message of a true modern prophet, crying from the confines of Hades, urging us to at least look closely at ourselves, even if it drives us mad.
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