Searching For Gurney
Jack Estes’ new novel, Searching for Gurney, follows the lives of three US Marines and a North Vietnamese soldier during horrific battles in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. The narrative is a set of character studies told in vignettes.
The book delves into the emotional, physical, and psychological effects of the war on the American and Vietnamese young men caught up in the conflict. American soldiers JT, Coop, and Collins, along with North Vietnamese soldier Vuong, fight for their respective countries in a war that is brutal and terrifying.
But what happens after the war? Eventually the Americans go to a home that’s no longer home, while Vuong is assigned to run a labor camp to “reeducate” South Vietnamese soldiers and sympathizers. The war is over, but as Vuong numbly observes, it lives on inside their heads. With gripping clarity, Jack Estes takes the reader into the damaged souls of these young men. The fate of Lt. Gurney haunts every corner of the story as each of them tries to make sense of the war.
“‘Searching for Gurney’ is a tender, convincing, sometimes harrowing, and wonderfully written novel that explores the psychological aftershocks of the American war in Vietnam. For veterans and their families this is a must read.” – Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried
“‘Searching for Gurney’ will open your mind and heart to the sad reality that too many Vietnam veterans faced when they returned home. Jack Estes has given us powerful characters who allow readers to understand a time when young men risked everything and lost much to serve their nation’s bidding.”
Karl Marlantes, author of the Vietnam epic novel Matterhorn
“In Estes’ war novel, ‘Searching for Gurney, ‘ four soldiers cope with the effects of a deadly engagement between U.S. Marines and members of the North Vietnamese Army. The staggered timelines offer readers an almost Cubist vision of PTSD, providing its context while dramatizing its aftereffects. It all builds steadily to the key event, which, by the time it arrives, has grown to near-mythic proportions.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Estes, a Marine Corps veteran who was wounded in Vietnam, brings both personal experience and meticulous research to the page. This brutal novel of American and Vietnamese soldiers’ struggles during and after the war will enthrall fans of character-driven drama. Great for fans of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War. – BookLife
“Jack Estes has written an outstanding novel that’s painful to read, but also important to our understanding of the demons that so many of our veterans live with. It’s at once an account of the brotherhood forged in war and the physical and psychological issues that make it so difficult for these troubled men to find their place again among the rest of us.” – George Rede, for The Oregonian/OregonLive (read full review)