The Nam Shadow by Carole Brungar
Carole Brungar wrote The Nam Legacy, a novel that I enjoyed, so I turned to The Nam Shadow with a great deal of anticipation.
The Nam Shadow is the story of Terry Edwards, who is a naïve young soldier, who has a carefree attitude to life, but then he is sent to Vietnam and has to cope with the intense fear and emotions that come with serving there.
For combat photographer Frankie Proctor, every soldier in Vietnam has a story to tell, and she is determined to tell these stories, despite the great risk to herself. Of course, the story of Terry and Frankie becomes entwined, as Carole Brungar writes a novel that explores the Vietnam conflict with compassion and sensitivity.
This second novel fleshes out the Nam experience – and the horror – and the author also shines a light on post-traumatic stress suffered back home after the conflict. The Nam Shadow is a roller coaster read with heart, and it is clear that Carole has done a lot of research, as it feels very authentic.
The Nam Shadow also tells the story of Jack Cade, who was the central character in the first book. As I already knew what had happened to him after reading The Nam Legacy, this meant it sometimes felt a little repetitive, but that is a small quibble, as Terry is the star of this novel and it his experience, and that of Frankie, that takes centre stage.
I do hope Carole is planning to write another in this series. I have enjoyed both books, and I think she has done a wonderful job recreating New Zealand and Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Carole Brungar Publishing, RRP $34.99