Publisher’s Weekly reviews F.N.G.

F.N.G. book jacket

F.N.G. Revised Edition

F. N.G.

Review by Publisher’s Weekly
Donald Bodey, Author
Viking Books $15.95 (272p)
ISBN 978-0-670-80724-6

F.N.G. stands for “”fucking new guy”the nickname given to incoming Vietnam recruits by the infantrymen who have arrived before them. Gabriel Sauers is the F.N.G. of Bodey’s first novel, which is essentially a documentary-style account of the young Ohio house painter’s year-long term of duty in a series of mud-soaked dugouts near the Cambodian border. While the narrative does provide us with a fiction-verite chronicle of the combatants’ grim existence from simply enduring the tedium of waiting for time to pass, to seeing comrades maimed and killed we are always kept at a certain critical distance from the protagonist’s deepest inner experience of the conflict. It is only toward the end of the novel, when a therapist coaxes a particularly traumatic event from Sauers’ blocked memory, that we begin to feel with him. The effect of that delayed emotional proximity is that we’re left wishing that the author had broken through to Sauers’s subconscious earlier on. Foreign rights: Joseph Spieler. December


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