peteg's blog - noise - books - 2011 09 04 Balaban ComingDownAgain

John Balaban: Coming Down Again

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1974, northern Thailand, the golden triangle: a friend of Lacey's and the man's girlfriend and her Lao girlfriend are incarcerated by Thai border guards after carrying a minor amount of something-or-other across a border. Lacey, professor, poet, American, organises some bandits to liberate them. Balaban writes as well as I hoped but not really about what I expected; he implies there is some truth underpinning this fiction, but it is difficult to know what, and if this is more than just a ripping yarn written ten years after the event. The ultimate deus ex machina, featuring an NVA detachment and the words of Hồ Chí Minh, is a bit tough to swallow.