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Next Up: Dog Soldiers

Mix a journalist, his wife, the Vietnam War, and a sailor and what do you get? A heroin deal gone bad. Huh?

Sounds interesting enough. And that’s the premise for Dog Soldiers, what appears to be another dark, bleak, depressing novel. When I’m done with 101 Books, I might read 100 happy Disney novels to counteract all of these depressing books. Who’s with me?

Anyway, here are a few quick facts about Dog Soldiers, written by Robert Stone:

  • Published in 1974, Dog Soldiers won the 1975 National Book Award for Fiction in the U.S.
  • Stone drew heavily from his experiences in the “Merry Prankster” crew, which was led by Ken Kesey–he of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest fame.
  • The character Ray Hicks is model after Beat Generation icon Neal Cassady–Jack Kerouac’s buddy in On The Road–one of the novels on the Time list.
  • The novel was turned into a feature film–Who’ll Stop The Rain?–starring Nick Nolte in 1978.
  • Dog Soldiers’ author Robert Stone, age 74, is considered as one of the greatest living writers by book critic Harold Bloom.

What did Time say?

A weird current pulses through this book. The tale of a heroin deal gone very bad, it’s also a merciless picture of America at the ragged end of the Vietnam era. . . . Bleakness is all in Stone’s world, which is unrelenting and unforgettable.

So here I go, ready to hunker down for another dip in the dark side of humanity. I must admit: I’m totally unfamiliar with Dog Soldiers and Robert Stone.

Am I the only one?

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sounds like a bowl of Cheerios. Good grief, I do not envy you right now.

    On the other hand, I’m a big fan of Russian lit, so…

    Like

    February 28, 2012
    • Stale Cheerios at best. At least they are good stories. Just depressing.

      Like

      February 28, 2012
      • haha. Yeah, that’s how I feel about the russians and 90% of short stories. Still read ’em.

        Like

        February 28, 2012
  2. I read this one last month. I got drawn into into it – kindof excited and repulsed at the same time … the fast action versus the drugs, sex and violence. The Ray Hicks character is simply fascinating – absolutely over the top – just as we’ve all heard Neil Cassidy was. (But it’s still hard to believe that Cassidy was this crazy.) Stone paints a picture so clear, it’s like you are there. Great writing.

    I’m guessing that you will deplore the lifestyle, but like the book.

    Like

    February 28, 2012
    • I’m with you so far. Fast-paced and entertaining at the beginning at least.

      Like

      February 28, 2012
  3. I’m in. Wouldn’t miss another dark and brutal romp……maybe I should see someone about that?

    Like

    February 28, 2012
    • At this rate, we’ll both be seeing someone by the end of all these books.

      Like

      February 28, 2012
  4. It’s not as depressing as many books on the list. It’s an okay crime story with a cool angle: the samurai thing.

    Like

    February 28, 2012

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