April 1975: The Evacuation of Saigon (7)

So the record of my horrors is now out in public for all to see. I wrote about them as fiction so that I could tell the story from multiple points of view.

My Friendly Casualties is a collection of short stories and a novella that pulls together the characters and their experiences. All of it is about the Vietnam war, and all of it is drawn from the events during that war that shaped my life.

The Trion Syndrome is in some respects the most direct of my books. It tells the story of a man suffering from Post-Traumtic Stress Injury (PTSI) as a consequence of the combat he went through in Vietnam.

No-Accounts is not about Vietnam or combat or war. It’s the story of a straight man caring for a gay man dying of AIDS. Early in my struggle with PTSI, I discovered that when I was helping people worse off than I was, my hideous memories faded into the background. I worked with the homeless, the dying in a hospice, and, at the height of the crisis, with AIDS patients. I had seven patients, all gay, all died. The experience moved me so deeply that I wrote a novel about it.

And finally, Last of the Annamese tells the story of the fall of Saigon from five different points of view, three American and two Vietnamese. One review noted that, like all my writing, the book is fiction in name only. I forced myself to include all the grim happenings, even my escape under fire after the North Vietnamese were already in the streets of Saigon.

I am content and relatively at peace. I rest my case.

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