Wayne Karlin's memoir War Movies recounts his return to Vietnam to work on the Vietnamese film Song of the Stork, in which young Vietnamese filmmakers tried to recreate their parents' war. On his journey, Karlin lives in two worlds—the world of postwar Vietnam and the world of film. Particularly powerful are the contrasts between the younger and older generations and the meditative quality of the narrative as Karlin explores the ironies involved in bridging the gap between past and present, and between film and reality. We hear the story of the coward who became the national poster boy for patriotism because he is photogenic, and we chuckle when the only extras the director can find to play the American GIs are Russian students. What is reality? What is fiction? What are the consequences of former sacrifice? These are some of the underlying themes explored in the course of this intriguing narrative.
"One of the most gifted writers to emerge from the Vietnam War."
"Wayne Karlin is one of the truth-tellers. You read him, and your spirit is enlarged, and you want immediately to re-read him, for savoring. Line by line, he is lyrical, precise, deeply insightful, and breathtakingly vivid. He has long been among the best writers we have in this country—in fact, I believe he is among the best writers we have ever had."
"The writing is trancelike, still and thoughtful, groping toward memory and meaning... Karlin [brings] all the senses into play... in this memoir of a country's consciousness."