Was it because I was sick and had to slow down? Or was it because the stories got more compelling the further I got through them? Either way, by the time I got to the end of it I’d cried a fair share of tears and had a few laughs.
Our Vietnam Nurses is an up-close conversation with more than a dozen of the Australian nurses who went to the Vietnam war, (and some medics). Annabelle was excited about writing this book and about giving voice to these stories. As exhausting as it must have been for some of the subjects to tell their stories, it was occasionally just as exhausting for Annabelle to absorb, digest and retell them with the responsibility of doing the stories justice. Sometimes in our e-conversations after spending a morning transcribing some of the interviews, she would say, "I just have to go and have a cup of tea."
She lays it out in the subject's own words for the reader to make their own assessment. It necessarily touches on the unavoidable side effect of war: PTSD, which is a recurring theme. Despite all the hardships and graphic reality there are some lighter moments too; keep reading till you get the nurses pink car…
Congratulations on a wonderful book Annabelle. You’ve done a stunning job.
Here's a podcast with Richard Fidler.