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LIFE DURING WARTIME [Mass Market Paperback]

Lucius Shepard
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1991
In the jungles of Guatemala, David Mingolla is struggling to survive amongst the rotting vegetation and his despairing fellow foot soldiers. He knows he is nothing but an expendable pawn in an endless war. On R & R a few miles away from the warzone he meets Debora - an enigmatic young woman who may be working for the enemy - and stumbles into a deadly psychic conflict where the mind is the greatest weapon.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

Lucius Shepard was born in the USA in 1947. From the mid-1960s to the early 1980s he lived in various parts of the world and travelled widely. He won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer in 1985 and has also won the World Fantasy Award twice. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. Dec 22 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm always amazed at Shepard's output. He has a way of making things believable yet allowing you to be surprised at the next turn of events. A unique writer and a book that sneaks some basic truths past you while the reader is still trying to comprehend the new universe Shepard lays out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shepard is one of the best 20th century writers Feb. 19 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I always love Lucius Shepard's work and this is his best novel. It is like "Apocalypse Now" in the future, and has the same kind of impact on the reader as that film did on the viewer.
A quote from the opening paragraph: "One of the new Sikorsky gunships... gave Mingolla and Gilbey and Baylor a lift from the Ant Farm to San Francisco de Juticlan, a small town located inside the green zone.... To the east of this green zone lay an undesignated band of yellow that corssed the country from the Mexican border to the Caribbean. The Ant Farm was a firebase on the eastern edge of the yellow band, and it was from there that Mingolla -- an artillery specialist not yet twenty-one years old -- lobbed shells into an area that the maps depicted in black-and-white terrain markings. And thus it was that he often thought of himself as engaged in a struggle to keep the world safe for primary colors."
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this book and Mr. Shepard's ability to provide a good story with some fantastic elements that are still very believable. I rue the day that I lost my copy and and have missed ever since. The magic realism of the book is more approachable than Marquez, but no less satisfying.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it. . . May 3 2003
By Nathan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lucius Shepard is a strong and beautiful writer. His stories have frequently been compared to those of Joseph Conrad, and indeed Shepard is a master of the short story and the novella. R&R, the novella that makes up the opening of this novel, is a beautiful and terrible read, and the quality of the writing remains consistently captivating throughout. So why have I given this novel only three stars? Because, as a novel, it doesn't really work. Shepard writes fantastic short fiction, but when he wrote LIFE DURING WARTIME, he just wasn't ready to tackle a novel. It reads like a series of episodes, each an good read on its own, but each also providing its own closure. But they are linked closely enough that were I to read something else in between them, I'd likely lose track of the details of the plot. So, while the writing is beautiful, the plot interesting, and each episode a joy to read on its own, the novel isn't able to sustain its momentum throughout. I'm glad I read it, but as a novel, it just doesn't quite work.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shepard is one of the best 20th century writers Feb. 19 1999
By Peter F. Delaney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I always love Lucius Shepard's work and this is his best novel. It is like "Apocalypse Now" in the future, and has the same kind of impact on the reader as that film did on the viewer.
A quote from the opening paragraph: "One of the new Sikorsky gunships... gave Mingolla and Gilbey and Baylor a lift from the Ant Farm to San Francisco de Juticlan, a small town located inside the green zone.... To the east of this green zone lay an undesignated band of yellow that corssed the country from the Mexican border to the Caribbean. The Ant Farm was a firebase on the eastern edge of the yellow band, and it was from there that Mingolla -- an artillery specialist not yet twenty-one years old -- lobbed shells into an area that the maps depicted in black-and-white terrain markings. And thus it was that he often thought of himself as engaged in a struggle to keep the world safe for primary colors."
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the original story May 25 2002
By Milos Tomin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
R&R was the story that put Shepard among the great names of SF and forms the chapter of this book. There are several familiar elements for fans of the author, exotic locales, drugs psychic powers that border on magic and secret forces battling it out under cover of 21st century warfare in the jungles of Central America. The book suffers just a tiny bit from being written in the late 80's when heavy involvement by US secret ops gave the impression that a Vietnam type meltdown was about to happen almost on the doorstep of US. Brilliant language and (naturally) hallucinatory imagery are the qualities of the book. Storyline tends to sag in the second half of the book but if you are one of the author's followers you will enjoy this work.
2.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant beginning, but then it derails April 26 2012
By Drake Vaughn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought the first couple chapters of Life During Wartime were absolutely brilliant. Written in a poetic style, Shepard managed to document the horrors of war with subtle grace and power. However, as the book progressed, the narrative began to wander, losing its focus. By the end, it seemed to concentrate solely on vivid sexual descriptions, but even these failed to pique my attention. I wish I could say I enjoyed it on a whole, but outside of a few moving passages, there was way too much bloat and wandering prose that seemed to lead nowhere.

After finishing the book, I learned it was an expansion of a short story he'd previously written. It seems as though Shepard just added some filler to this remarkable tale in order to flesh it out into a novel. Unfortunately, I think it would've been better left as a short. Shepard has a unique and poetic voice, one that is superb in its ability to confront the darkest subjects. I just wish I'd found it more enjoyable to read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Relationships and war beautifully woven with Magic Realism Dec 28 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this book and Mr. Shepard's ability to provide a good story with some fantastic elements that are still very believable. I rue the day that I lost my copy and and have missed ever since. The magic realism of the book is more approachable than Marquez, but no less satisfying.
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