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Picador / Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2001-11-01)
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by Nunez, Sigrid

From one of the most celebrated novelists of her generation, the story of a woman in the Vietnam War.

"After my first book was published, I received some letters." So begins Sigrid Nunez's haunting novel about the poignant and unusual friendship between a writer and a retired army nurse who seeks her out decades after their childhood in the same housing project. Among the letters the narrator receives is one from a Rouenna Zycinski, recalling their old connection and asking if they can meet.Though fascinated by the stories Rouenna tells about her life as a combat nurse in Vietnam, the narrator flatly declines her request that they collaborate on a memoir. It is only later, in the aftermath of Rouenna's shocking death, that the narrator is drawn to write about her friend--and her friend's war. Writing Rouenna's story becomes all-consuming, at once a necessity and the only consolation.

FOR ROUENNA, an unforgettable novel about truth, memory, and unexpected heroism by one of the most gifted writers of her generation, is also a remarkable and surprising new look at war.

Sigrid Nunez was born in New York City, the daughter of a German mother and a Chinese-Panamanian father, whose lives she drew on for part of her first novel, A FEATHER ON THE BREATH OF GOD (1995). She went on to write six more novels, including THE LAST OF HER KIND (2006), SALVATION CITY (2010), and, most recently, THE FRIEND (2018). She is also the author of SEMPRE SUSAN: A MEMOIR OF SUSAN SONTAG (2011). Her honors include a Whiting Writers' Award, a Rome Prize, a Berlin Prize, the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction.

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... this deeply moral look at memory and friendship is recommended for any collection with intelligent and patient readers.

Review: Library Journal

Nunez's insightful examination of the way collective cultural memory whitewashes the uncomfortable past is at once a memorialization of an era and a declaration of the insufficiency of memorials when the past remains very much a part of our present.

Review: Publishers Weekly

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