By: David Metzenthen
Genre: Y - Children's, teenage & educational
Published by: Allen & Unwin
Published: 01 Apr 2016
ISBN: 9781760112257


Sf Book Of The Month

Two young Vietnam War veterans who fought on opposing sides return home, struggling to recover from their experience. A moving story of trauma, resilience and the challenging road to recovery.

I am still moving despite the fact that this dreamed-up bastard Khan walks with me - no, he doesn't walk with me, he rises up to fire, has my life in his hands, my head in his sights, and that is the image of all images that I have somehow to lose.

Johnny Shoebridge has just returned from fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. He no longer carries a weapon - only photos of the dead and a dread of the living.

Pursued by a Viet Cong ghost-fighter called Khan, Johnny makes one last stand - knowing that if he cannot lay this spectre to rest, he will remain a prisoner of war for ever.

Drawing on courage, loyalty and love, Johnny tries to find a way back from the nightmare of war to a sense of hope for the future.

An elegant and deeply moving novel, set in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, by one of Australia's finest writers.


This is a moving account of life after the Vietnam War, seen through the eyes of Johnny Shoebridge who carries so much of what happened in his mind.

Through this we also learn of the Viet Cong through a fighter that Johnny remembers, who he calls Khan and imagines what life would be like for him after Johnny basically shot his arm off in their last battle.

Johnny imagines much of this as he recalls images and events of what actually happened. Through all of this he is gradually readjusting to life after war and re-establishing his life in Australia.

This is a fantastic middle secondary reader that looks at an awful period in our history, where our returning soldiers were mistreated by many for being a part of a war that they believed we should never had been involved in.

Brilliantly written and constructed by master novelist David Metzenthen. I would highly recommend the use of this novel as an introduction to the topic of war, particularly the more recent Vietnam War.

Reviewed by Rob