In the Year of the Rabbit: A Novelby Terence Harkin
To be published in September 2021
Cameraman Brendan Leary survived the ambush of the Big Buddha Bicycle Race—but Tukada, his star-crossed lover, did not. Leary returns to combat, flying night operations over the mountains of Laos, too numb to notice that Pawnsiri, one of his adult-school students, is courting him. 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.
In the Year of the Rabbit, a story of healing and redemption, honors three groups missing from accounts of the Vietnam War—the air commandos who risked death flying night after night 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.
About the Author
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, before going on to a long career as a Hollywood cameraman (M*A*S*H, From Here to Eternity, Seinfeld). He has returned often to Thailand and Laos.
What others are saying
“Terence A. Harkin 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-winning author of Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“Non-fiction books on Buddhism and meditation abound, but honest and realistic descriptions of what it is like to live in a monastery in Southeast Asia and practice Vipassana are rare. 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 and the heartfelt connection between teacher and student.”—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, Retired), 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. The journey…from pop bands and musicians to war in Southeast Asia to the peace of Buddhist meditation (is) 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. The author employs an economy of language bordering on the poetic. Highly recommended.”—Dean Barrett, author of Memoir of a Bangkok Warrior, Kingdom of Make Believe, Don Quixote in China, and 27 other Goodreads Books
“Brendan Leary seems distant, yet Terence Harkin draws him slowly out (as he) journeys through (the) world of Buddhism, developing an entirely new outlook on life’s bonds of fellowship… A wonderful experience of meaningful life in a difficult time and place! Surprises abound! Go get it…you too, will be enthralled.”—Kev Richardson, Author of 30 Goodreads Books, including Pacific Paradox and My Red Cross