Multi-Generational Coming Of Age. This is an interesting review to write, particularly for a man, as Dugoni explicitly notes in his author notes at the end of this book that he sought to write a book about that transition period where the world expects a boy to suddenly become a man. Thus, any man’s thoughts on the book will likely be tangled with his own memories of that period in his own life, and mine are no different – for me, it was the summer I graduated HS… that ended with the Sept 11 attacks.
But the story Dugoni plays out here is with generations before and after my own, with the earlier Boomers – those old enough to fight in Vietnam in the late 60s-, Gen-X – Vincent here, and Dugoni in real life, graduated HS the summer after my own parents did -, and Gen-Z – the son here is in college just a couple of years ago as when the book is published in Sept 2021. And he captures each period and their own idiosyncracies well, despite using only really a couple of perspectives – an 18yo soldier in Vietnam, mostly told through letters and other remembrances, and an 18yo construction worker in 1979 who is also the parent in the 2010s era.
Still, the raw emotions and the conflicts and turmoils Dugoni captures here are visceral. The hits land like haymakers, and there isn’t really any levity to be found. Yet even throughout, this is a story of hope, of the idea that no matter the struggles you’re facing in your immediate world, things *will* get better. And it is this hope that is also so prevalent throughout the text and provides the gravitas that allows the haymakers to hit as hard as they do without the story becoming too depressing.
Truly a remarkable work, and very much recommended.
This review of The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni was originally written on August 10, 2021.
This week we’re looking at a book that absolutely owns its space in a way that I’ve only seen exactly one other time in all of my reading. This week we’re looking at The Singing Trees by Boo Walker.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Boo Walker Just Has A Way With Words. That’s really all there is to this one. The story is emotional yet also one told in so very many ways by so very many people. The story of the late 60s and mostly early 70s (with prologue and epilogue in 2019, and penultimate chapter later in the 70s), of a pair of star crossed lovers in that perilous time, of loving someone yet having goals of your own. Walker walks into this well-worn area and even era, and owns it in a way I’ve only seen *one* other book do in all of my vast and diverse reading – Laurie Breton’s Coming Home. That book was an absolute gut punch that left you absolutely devastated for days. Walker’s is one that will slap you in your face several times, feint to the groin, and then land a hay maker right in your solar plexus at the end, right when you thought you were already completely spent. Truly a beautiful story, superbly crafted. Very much recommended.
I literally finished this book in about 36 hours after starting it – I couldn’t put it down!
The action starts with the Chess Team getting ready for a relaxing barbeque with the President – his way of thanking them for their battles in PULSE and other successful missions between the books, since they refuse any other medals or commendations.
All of a sudden, the Team is called out on a mission – without Deep Blue, their eye-in-the-sky fearless leader.
King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, and Rook get dropped into a hot LZ in Vietnam along with Pawn, a CDC virus specialist. The mission is to keep Pawn alive while she can track down a cure to a virus that has already claimed the life of the President and threatens to kill every male on the planet – including King, Knight, Rook, and even Bishop.
Facing Vietnamese Special Forces, along with a far more sinister and unknown adversary, the Team fights to keep Pawn alive, as well as themselves. Will they survive, or will the adversaries – human, virus, and unknown – kill every single member of the Team and doom humanity?
For that, you’ll just have to read this AMAZING book.
Pay attention to the end of the tale for the reveal of Deep Blue’s real identity, among other surprises…
This review of Instinct by Jeremy Robinson was originally published on Amazon on June 28, 2010.