* 1/2 The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

I found The Lotus Eaters to be a schmaltzy, hard to believe romance set in Vietnam during the war and starring an American woman photographer with little experience but motivated by her brother’s combat death to work in Vietnam, her American lover, also a photographer, who makes his own rules about work and everything else, and his Vietnamese assistant, a deserter and spy, and ultimately her lover after the death of the first one, whom she arranges to get evacuated by helicopter from the American embassy at the end of the war. So she somehow manages to be present at all the iconic moments of the war while befriending a caricatural sophisticated French emigree, the pho-making grandmother down the street, and assorted urchins, and spending some idyllic time in the countryside with her lovers. All that sandwiched between often puffed-up descriptions of the beauty of the country and the horrors of war and some pretty unlikely Manichean discourses by the main actors. The rest is pretty good.


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