In the Year of the Rabbit
- PUBLISHED: April 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Literature / Fiction, Asian Studies / Southeast Asia
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 316 Pages, 5.5 x 8.25 in
- ISBN: 9786162151767
- Publisher: Silkworm Books
Cameraman Brendan Leary survived the ambush of the Big Buddha Bicycle Race—but Tukada, his star-crossed lover, did not. Numb, Leary returns to combat, flying night operations over the mountains of Laos. When his gunship is shot down, he survives again, hiking out of the jungle with Harley Baker, the guitar-playing door gunner he loves and hates. Leary is discharged but remains in Thailand, ordaining as a Buddhist monk and embarking on a pilgrimage through the wastelands of Laos, haunted by what Thais call pii tai hong—the restless, unhappy ghosts of his doomed crewmates.
This story of healing and redemption honors three groups missing from accounts of the Vietnam War—the air commandos who risked death flying nightly over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the active-duty airmen who risked prison by joining the GI antiwar movement, and the people of neutral Laos, whose lives and country were devastated.
Authors & Contributors
Terence A. Harkin was awarded the 2020 Silver Medal in Literary Fiction from the Military Writers Society of America for his debut novel, The Big Buddha Bicycle Race. During the Vietnam War he served with the "Rat Pack," the USAF photo unit operating out of Ubon, Thailand. He has returned often to Thailand and Laos.
Makes a strong, significant, even surprisingly unique contribution to the large body of fiction that has emerged from the Vietnam War. For anyone who wishes to fully examine that most emblematic of American wars, In the Year of the Rabbit is essential reading.- Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
The real deal—epic yet personal... An illuminating journey from lost innocence to agonizing self-discovery.- Susan Craig, Warner Pictures
The sequel to (the) critically acclaimed The Big Buddha Bicycle Race...Rabbit is a profound and compelling novel in its own right….Much of the novel’s interest comes from the unique relationship between Baker and Leary, which is at once loving and tense. The men view the world in ways that are fundamentally incompatible: Baker is, in his own words, “a gunner and a bomb loader” who likes combat and “that nasty feeling—those butterflies in my belly.” Leary is an introspective pacifist. Yet the men bond through their shared experiences in the war…At its heart, In the Year of the Rabbit is the story of a man’s journey to find peace in a chaotic and violent world. The thoughtfulness and careful prose of In the Year of the Rabbit make Terry Harkin’s second novel a thoroughly worthwhile read.- Meg Bywater, The Veteran
Terence Harkin’s novel brings the reader into the hidden world of Buddhist monastic life with such skill that you get to live it....The wisdom, kindness, and compassion of the Thai forest monks permeate this book, as does the healing power of meditation.- Jason Siff, author of Unlearning Meditation and Seeking Nibbana in Sri Lanka
In the Year of the Rabbit captures the soul of an American Combat Cameraman...whose life is overtaken by the most controversial war in America’s history. Must reading.- Colonel Frank A. Titus (USAF, ret.), former Instructor of International Humanitarian Law with the United Nations-New York
In the Year of the Rabbit deftly manages to deal with a number of disparate issues with power and precision….An odyssey involving the brutal violence of conflict, the pain and guilt of lost love, and the tranquility of life as lived by a Buddhist monk. Highly recommended.- Dean Barrett, author of Memoir of a Bangkok Warrior and Kingdom of Make Believe
Vividly portrays the cost emotionally, physically and morally to any of us who experience war—whether or not a direct participant—and points out so well that what we tell ourselves about events in our lives effects our response as much as what actually happens to us, (how we) need to come to terms with that, (and how) despite the challenges we face or endure we are ultimately designed to survive.- Nellie Harness Coakley, RN, 7th Surgical Hospital, Vietnam, 1968-1969; Head Orthopedics Nurse, Walter Reed, 1969; Trauma Counselor, 1982–2010; Technical Advisor, China Beach, 1988-91
Counter cultures continually clash in Terence Harkin's novel, In the Year of the Rabbit…during the late stages of the Vietnam War. His insight into the contradictory values and desires of Easterners and Westerners teaches lessons in humanity to a depth beyond that normally found in books about that time and place. Harkin (also) covers a lot of ground about Spectre gunship action, of which I was a part, and gets it right.- Henry Zeybel, Lt. Col. USAF (ret.), author of Gunship and Along for the Ride; veteran of 158 combat missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Brilliantly recounts the psychological battle of the protagonist and his constant effort to overcome his inner demons. It's flawless, and the author deserves to be praised for creating such original work on a well-worn subject.- Lina Mueller, OnlineBookClub.org
I just read In the Year of the Rabbit – I found it intensely surprising and amazing. Despite the assurances that it’s a work of fiction – a novel – I read it as a memoir. Couldn’t help myself. And could barely fathom all that went into it.... All the searching, the discoveries, the transformations. All the physical, mental, emotional hard work to get beyond and over. I’m wowed. Living it? Writing it? – which is, of course, a kind of re-living – it’s almost impossible to grasp. What a feat. Bravo! Congratulations!- Jeanne Rosenberg
This is a vivid story of redemptive, spiritual journey of an air-force cameraman against the background of war where the allies and foes are indistinguishable in their principles and actions. The protagonist’s entry into Buddhist monkhood and his subsequent return to the world is very tangible, full of revelation, and reminded me of the quote, “A sacred purity of lotus flower rises from the mud without stain.” Engrossing book!- Hiro Narita, ASC