The Lotus Eaters

By Tatjana Soli

‘A tremendously evocative debut, a love story set in the hallucinatory atmosphere of war, described in translucent, fever-dream prose.’
Janice Y. K. Lee, author of the bestselling ‘The Piano Teacher’

Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, 2011

As the fall of Saigon begins in 1975, two lovers make their way through the streets, desperately trying to catch one of the last planes out. Helen Adams, a photojournalist, must leave behind a war she has become addicted to and a devastated country she loves. Linh, her lover, must grapple with his own conflicting loyalties to the woman from whom he can’t bear to be parted, and his country.

Betrayal and self-sacrifice follows, echoing the pattern of their relationship over the war-torn years, beginning in the splendour of Angkor Wat, with jaded, cynical, larger-than-life war correspondent Sam Darrow, Helen’s greatest love and fiercest competitor, driven by demons she can only hope to vanquish.

Spurred on by the need to get the truth of the war out to an international audience, and the immense personal cost this carries, Sam and Helen’s passionate and all-consuming love is tested to the limit. This mesmerising novel carries resonance across contemporary wars with questions of love and heart-breaking betrayal interwoven with the conflict.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 20 Jan 2011
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0-00-736420-6
Tatjana Soli is a novelist and short story writer. Born in Salzberg, Austria, she attended Stanford University and the Warren Wilson MFA Program. She lives with her husband in Orange County, California.

'A beautiful, harrowing debut that grapples with betrayal, compassion, what it is that drives us towards heroic acts - and whether love can triumph over the horrors of war' Easy Living -

'Gripping, terrific…[Soli] does one hell of a job of putting the reader knee-deep in the action' The Times -

”'[A] haunting debut novel…quietly mesmerizing…tough and lyrical book. Its object lessons in how Helen learns to refine her wartime photography are succinct and powerful. By the end of the story - in ways that bring to mind the feverishness of the Iraqi war film 'The Hurt Locker', with its very different locations, job descriptions and wartime imperatives - [Helen] has been utterly transformed. She is no longer a witness to history. As Ms Soli makes her readers understand very viscerally, Helen has become part of the history that she set out to record.” - Janet Maslin, The New York Times

'A splendid first novel…Vivid battle scenes, sensual romantic entanglements and elegant writing add to the pleasures of ‘The Lotus Eaters’' The New York Times Book Review (front cover review) -

”'If it's possible to judge a novel by its first few lines, then 'The Lotus Eaters” - ’ Tatjana Soli's fiction debut, shows great promise right from the start… The author explores Helen's psyche with startling clarity, and portrays the chaotic war raging around her with great attention to seemingly minor details. The real heartbreak in 'The Lotus Eaters’ is found in subtle, unexpected moments’ Boston Globe

”'As with the Academy Award-winning 'The Hurt Locker’, this novel examines the addiction to that adrenaline rush sometimes experienced by those unlucky enough to fall prey to…'terrible love of war'.'The Lotus Eaters” - feels pulled from today's headlines, full of meaning for readers whose country is once again sending men and women to the battlefields, both to fight and to document that fighting' Washington Post