Angels in Repose

A yet-to-be published book
by VietNow member, Danny Lliteras

angelsinrepose

A book review by Christian Nelson

Lots of people have written books based on their experiences during the Vietnam War, and many of those books have been great. But the number of writers who have successfully published books on the topic of Vietnam, and also successfully published books on other topics is a short one.

VietNow member Danny Lliteras is one of the few writers to be successful not only with books about Vietnam, but also with books on other topics. We’ve previously reviewed Lliteras’ 613 Jefferson Street, a unique, truth-filled work of fiction depicting the experiences of a returning Vietnam veteran. But some of his greatest success has come with his four-book, critically acclaimed series of biblical novels: Jerusalem’s RainJudas the GentileThe Thieves of Golgotha, and most recently,The Silence of John.

VietNow member Danny Lliteras is one of the few writers to be successful not only with books about Vietnam, but also with books on other topics.

When your books receive prestigious “starred reviews” from Booklist, and when the highly esteemed Library Journaldescribes your book as “Top Christian novel of 2003,” you’ve reached a rarefied atmosphere attained by the very few. Danny Lliteras has reached those peaks.

But even with his great success, Lliteras has retained his deep interest in the Vietnam experience, and is working on finding a publisher for his most recent Vietnam story, Angels in Repose.

Lliteras refuses to bend, and refuses to tone himself down. He doesn’t believe in PTSD (at least not for himself).

Never blasé about his work, and never reticent about his views on Vietnam veterans, Lliteras doesn’t hold back. During a recent phone conversation, he asked if he could read me the preface to Angels in Repose. I’ve listened to many other writers read from their own work, and I’m often less-than impressed as they read in a monotone, or else exaggerate every expression. But when Lliteras read me this preface, he was obviously excited. And every word, and every intonation of his voice rang true.

When Lliteras read the preface to me over the phone that day, I got excited. I felt my heart beating faster. It was a real turn-on.

Lliteras refuses to bend, and refuses to tone himself down. He doesn’t believe in PTSD (at least not for himself) and he believes that the vast majority of Vietnam veterans have led successful lives – unlike the media-pushed view of tortured, failure-prone, semi-crazed Vietnam veterans. Fortunately, the now out-of-business Viet Nam War Generation Journal, published a few chapters of Angels in Repose, so at least parts of this book have already seen the light of day.

When Lliteras read the preface to me over the phone that day, I got excited. I felt my heart beating faster. It was a real turn-on. Partly it was what I heard him saying, and partly it was the way he said it. More than an introduction to his book, this preface is the manifesto of Vietnam veteran, Danny Lliteras.

Christian Nelson is the VietNow National editor.

From the preface of Angels in Repose

Manifesto of
Danny Lliteras

My ghosts are mine, and I’m proud to have them. I want my war memories. I want the constant sound of small-arms fire in the background of my mind. I want my fragments of warriorship, which distinguish me from other men.

My war memories are my badge of honor. They are a positive and defining element of my psyche. I draw strength from them. I’ve drawn my art from them.

I refuse to have this labeled as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which would erase or neutralize or degrade an honorable after-effect of war. I refuse to be marginalized and objectified. I refuse the false accusations of wrong-doing that have forced many of my brethren to endure decades of guilt.

My war memories are part of my humanity and a part of my realistic vision of life. I believe this is what makes “Angels in Repose” original and fresh and new.