Review: David Metzenthen – Dreaming the Enemy

Dreaming the Enemy
David Metzenthen

Although Johnny Shoebright has returned from the jungles of Vietnam, he remains haunted by the acts he was forced to carry out, and the ones he endured. He fears the living, and finds it hard to believe that anyone could possibly feel like he does.

28052051It’s the 20th anniversary after the Vietnam War. Since this novel was published and made its way into my hands I have seen a bunch of novels on the same topic. I know better than to ask for them though. I’m not even sure I asked for this one.

There’s just something about the prose and the interlacing of fact and fiction that didn’t do anything for me. The dreams of Johnny are very different to the life he finds himself in now, and I accept that it is probably a genuine choice of the author. Johnny himself is split between the person he ‘should be’ and the person he is. Brilliant execution, just not the right subject.

I think it’s just me. I’m not particularly interested in war stories (says the person who read Max, and enjoyed it), and so this perhaps never would have worked for me. I’d love to be proved wrong, but my rule of generally rejecting novels about wars seems to be the right choice for me at the moment.

I feel guilty, but I only got about half-way into this novel before I was distracted by something else shiny. I did read it solidly, paying attention to the details, but in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself back to read it. I’m giving this only 2 stars, I think that for the right audience it would be a hit – that audience is just not me.


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