Fragments (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
In his highly praised first novel, newspaper editor Jack Fuller attempts to go beyond the Vietnam experience to examine issues related to metaphysical assumptions that guide our behavior and help us to explain our actions. The war in Vietnam—a war that was never declared—and the complex of ambiguities surrounding it provide for Fuller a basic metaphor, an “objective correlative,” as some would say, for an inquiry into the essential nature of reality. This is not to say that the tangible experience of Vietnam is glossed over in favor of abstruse arguments, but rather, the experiential becomes the base for the conclusions to be drawn. The horror of Vietnam is always present even before the narrator, Bill Morgan, goes to war and certainly after he returns from it, fragmented and seeking connections.
The first-person point of view provides a credibility and closeness not possible in a third-person narration. The reader experiences with the young narrator the anguish of his decision to allow himself to be drafted, the anxieties of his first days and months in the army, his growing friendship with Jim Neumann, the anguish and horror of conflict, the dreadful ambiguities of wartime Vietnam and its people, the total fragmenting of personalities, and the fearful and hesitant gropings for bondings that were lost in a dreadful experience.
The novel is divided into six sections: “Neumann,” “Green,” “The Blues,” “Xuan The,”...
(The entire section is 2736 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Booklist. LXXX, January 1, 1984, p. 666.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVI, February 15, 1984, p. 28.
Harper’s Magazine. CCLXVIII, June, 1984, p. 67.
Kirkus Reviews. LI, November 15, 1983, p. 1173.
Library Journal. CIX, January, 1984, p. 110.
Listener. CXI, April 12, 1984, p. 27.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, February 12, 1984, p. 37.
Publishers Weekly. XXIV, November 18, 1983, p. 59.
The Wall Street Journal. CCIII, February 15, 1984, p. 28.
(The entire section is 51 words.)