Paco's Story Author:Larry Heinemann "Paco's Story" is an outstanding addition to the canon of fiction about the American soldier's experience in Vietnam. Its additional contribution lies in its exploration of the challenges facing the veteran upon his return to the U.S. — The novel is unsparing in its criticism of a country that was all to eager to send young men off to fight in a ... more »controversial war in the jungles of Southeast Asia, but not so enthusiastic about dealing with them when they returned, wounded both physically and psychically. The novel also presents a world in which the soldiers on both sides are dehumanized by guerrilla warfare and surrender to evil.
What is Paco's story? It's a story of a grunt who survives a firestorm attack that kills all of his comrades; who clings to life desperately in a hospital far from home; who returns to the States with a cane and a complex of scars disfiguring his body; who lives day in and day out with the knowledge that he lived a life in Vietnam that he can explain to almost no one on the planet.
We see him arrive in a small town via bus, looking for work. We watch him encounter fellow Americans who haven't a clue about what he has endured on their behalf and who do not appear to want to know. We return with him to experience the drudgery and brutality of life in a faraway land and the horrible day that changed his life forever. We listen to him commune with the ghosts of the men with whom he fought in Vietnam.
Finally, we see him depart the town as suddenly as he came, having discovered that a girl upon whom he has spied and fantasized sees him as a disgusting freak.
This is a bitter, eloquent novel that reminds us that we should never forget the soldiers who paid dearly for their service to the country. The wounds they suffered overseas should never be compounded by wounds inflicted by their own countrymen.« less