From The Violent Season.
“If Trinh allowed himself to think of such things, he would admit that he would gladly trade the rest of his life just to be able to spend one evening together with his father reading from the book of Apollinaire’s poetry that Trinh had burned so many years ago in the mountains near the Chinese border. But, such things are not possible. His father’s body was rotting in some undiscovered pit outside Hanoi where the Japanese had dumped it. His mother had probably died in one of those horrid “comfort houses” where the Japanese forced Vietnamese women to service the sexual needs of their soldiers. The ashes of Apollinaire were scattered across the dark hills that sheltered Vietnam from the Chinese. Such thoughts are dangerous. They would serve only to distract Trinh from his duty, weaken his resolve, confuse him. Sergeant Major Trinh’s only reality is that on this morning, he is on a wooded ridgeline with twenty soldiers of the People’s Army of Viet Nam, a snot-nose Sub-Lieutenant with a party card and a university degree, the enemy near and a mission to accomplish. That was the limit of Sergeant Major Trinh’s allowable reality. ‘Voici que vient l’été la saison violente / Et ma jeunesse est morte ainsi que le printemps’”(from “A Very Bad Day,” The Violent Season).
“Ray Gleason has written a literary novel about the Vietnam War that is the finest war novel I’ve read in a while. “
“In school, I learned about the war in history classes, but none of this compared to the emotional closeness and rawness that I felt when reading ‘The Violent Season’ by Ray Gleason. Superbly written, this book transports the reader to ‘Nam’ with the perfect balance of soul-wrenching honesty and soul-feeding beauty.”
“This novel is an amazing intertwining of stories of the lives of ordinary men and women who became involved in the Vietnam War. As a veteran who served in an armor company (1967/1968) in Nam, this book touched me very deeply. The author evokes memories of the loss of innocence, anger and disillusionment but added to that are very deep feelings of love for the men with whom I served.”