Year published :September 2021

Pages :316 pp.

Size :14 x 21 cm., paperback

ISBN: 9786162151767

In the Year of the Rabbit: A Novel

by Terence Harkin

E-book is now available on 

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 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

“Sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll mixed with aerial combat, clandestine operations, (and) the plight of the Lao people make for an excellent story and maybe a lesson or two.” Capt Tré Dahlander (US Airways, ret.): RF-4 pilot, Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, 1971-72

“A wonderful experience of meaningful life in a difficult time and place.” —Kev Richardson, Author of Pacific Paradox and My Red Cross

“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

“Harkin’s prose is muscular and immersive, detailing Leary’s war experience with surprising imagery.” —Kirkus Reviews

''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

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