Item description for Buffalo Boy and Geronimo by James Janko...
The unique vision in Janko's Buffalo Boy and Geronimo is the depiction of the Vietnam War as seen through the lens of a wounded but resilient nature as a Confucian society still rooted in the earth and the unbroken fabric of ancestors is pitted against a desensitized military high-tech culture. As critic Paul Pines noted, "The forces here that seek to conquer the landscape are those, which by implication, shatter the harmonious fabric of the natural world to create a pathology that is far deeper than the political stakes indicate-one that indeed may determine the future of the entire ecosphere."
The two heroes of the book, Nguyen Luu Mong, the Vietnamese buffalo boy, and Antonio Lucio, the US Chicano medic (Geronimo), both have a deep respect for the natural world, and it is through their eyes that we witness the devastation of the natural world of which they are a part.
Geronimo's unit is engaged in search and destroy missions (one of the villages destroyed is Mong's), and he becomes so appalled by the pain and death inflicted on animals and humans that at one point he abandons his unit and rushes ahead to drive the animals away from an impending firebombing. Eventually he deserts and finds his way back into the jungle.
The young adolescent Mong loses his beloved buffalo in an early firefight and eventually sees his entire village destroyed, the survivors relocating deeper into Viet Cong territory. His is also a love story, and his marriage to Thien at the end of the novel is symbolic of the need for life to continue despite the devastation.
James Janko was a medic in the Vietnam War. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Currently he teaches Spanish literacy at the City College of San Francisco.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2006
Publisher Curbstone Press
ISBN 1931896194 ISBN13 9781931896191
Availability 0 units.
More About James Janko
James Janko served as a medic in the Vietnam War and on his return became a member of Maxine Hong Kingston's writing workshop for veterans. He has published work in many literary magazines. In 2002, he won the Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction and his work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Reviews - What do customers think about Buffalo Boy and Geronimo?
A Sensitive, Beautiful Work You will Enjoy! Oct 27, 2006
Explores the war experiences of two adolescent boys on opposing sides of the Vietnamese conflict. The novel suggests that embracing our oneness with the natural world is the key to overcoming our societal alienations and ideological differences. Buffalo Boy and Geronimo is about the brutality of war, the torments of adolescence and the senselessness of environmental terrorism. It is also a tale of love, growth, spiritual rebirth and hope. The writing is almost poetical and is transfused with Janko's pantheistic philosophy. A wonderful piece of literature which champions the dignity of animals, the humanity of our enemies and the preciousness of our environment. One of the most sensitive books written on the Vietnam war...please read it and pass it on.
Hauntingly Lyrical Sep 18, 2006
Buffalo Boy and Geronimo is written from the heart of one who lived through, and understood, the terror of war and the beauty of survival. Janko brings a deeper understanding to the conflict of war by allowing us to enter the interior worlds of its victims and its survivors. The writing is very descriptive, so much so that I dreamt myself of being in trenches and felt insects crawling on my skin during the time I was reading the book. For those who remember Vietnam, this book will help them to understand more deeply what happened, for those too young to remember, this book will remind them that war is meant for one thing - destruction - and it is usually the innocent that are caught in the middle, whether they be in uniform or not.
A Huge Recommend! Mar 10, 2006
This book was moving and haunting. I would recommend it to anyone who lived through the Viet Nam era - and anyone born after.
Lovely, lyrical book, a must read Mar 9, 2006
Though about what may seem to many like a long-ago conflict this is a timely reminder of the human toll of war. It lets us inside both sides of the conflict where they really live - in their own minds and hearts... Ordinary people caught up in extradinary destruction and responding with extroadinary compassion and humanity. It is a lesson we all can use today as we repeat history once more... Highly recommended.
The Individual and the Tribe! Jan 28, 2006
I read James Janko's powerfully gentle and inspiring book "Buffalo Boy and Geronimo" straight through without stopping, except to eat and relieve. Janko brought me into village life. Aware of my senses, I was living in a world of smell and touch, of reverence and spirituality, of survival and belief. In the very beginning, we learn that the Vietnamese call the Vietnam War the American War, and Janko presents a world almost unfathomable in what the US does to this country, Vietnam, and then, Cambodia, and yet, it is not black and white. We are there with the fears of the Americans. They, too, are caught in a trap. And what sustains those who are sustained? The earth, the animals, the plants. Janko is a poet, a spiritual, mystical sage who carries us along in believing and trusting. In this book, I learned what it is like to live in a Vietnamese village, and I learned the power of the individual, the group, the tribe, the village in its need to survive. I learned about honoring ancestors, and I learned it at the deepest levels. Janko brings us into a tribe, a tribe of humanity that includes all nature. This is a masterful book, a must-read book, a book to change your life.