Alleys of Eden

Alleys of Eden



The dogs had fled. The alleys were quiet because the rockets had fallen on Saigon until the dogs had stopped barking at them and felt the terror of the people and joined the refugees rushing out of the city into nowhere. Cliff imagined it this way. He had a vision of the alley outside his window as the center from which they all rushed, like all matter in the universe rushing from the center in the big bang. But he knew this didn't fit. The refugees were pressing into Saigon, pressing into all the corners and cracks and awaiting the end. Maybe a dog would yet bark tonight.

He felt Lanh's naked flank against him. He listened to the silence of the alley. He felt a moment utterly different from this but on the surface different only in a dog barking. A night in this back alley countless nights ago when he lay for the first time in his own and alien home and listened to a dog barking in the night, the only sound in Saigon, Lanh awake, he knew, listening with him, the faint drip of water in her tiny bathroom where she'd crouched after they'd made love and she'd sponged down her body. The paddle fan moved slowly in the dark above them pressing ghosts against his face.


"This excellent novel should be placed alongside such greats as Graham Greene's The Quiet American. Chances are it will stand the test of time.

-- John Grant, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"An extraordinarily concentrated and poetic novel of the relationship between an Army deserter and a Saigon bar girl Reminiscent of Nathaniel Hawthorne's most chilling short stories.

-- Jack Fuller, Chicago Tribune Book World

"[His two main characters] explore a prolonged and shattering last-tango intimacy that Butler presents in a swift, responsive prose of great physical tenderness The scenes of these orphaned lovers in bed are charged with rare power.

-- Tom Clark, Los Angeles Times

"[It] succeeds on several levels. It is painfully realistic. It is artfully written. It is a unique, haunting story

-- Marc Leepson, The Washington Post

"The images are ravishing; the narrative voice is vulnerable, thoughtful, winning; the organization is a seamless tour de force.

-- William Plummer, Ambassador magazine

"Extraordinary reminiscent of good Hemingway.

-- Gail Gilliland, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Masterfully written, suspenseful and totally absorbing.

-- Publishers Weekly

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