A Measure of Undoing

by David Kos
ISBN: 1412005736

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A Review of: A Measure of Undoing
by W.P. Kinsella

A Measure of Undoing comes awfully close to being a really great book. It combines a beautiful portrait of present day Vietnam, a heartbreaking love story, and suspenseful political intrigue. Seb is an American doctor who has spent the last 20 years at the Can Tho Children's Hospital fighting a losing battle, trying to save children's lives with too little money and medicine. He blames his countrymen, first for the use of chemicals (Agent Orange) during the Vietnam war, and secondly for the long embargo against Vietnam which left him without the medicines he desperately needed. Seb is not without faults; he has traded an alcohol problem for an opium addiction, which strains his relationship with the beautiful Ky, his true love. There is also a new doctor who is falling in love with a Vietnamese doctor, but cultural differences hinder the relationship. Enter Samuelson, a truly ugly American who plans to open a shoe factory with American investors. He embodies all the arrogance and ignorance of the rich and greedy. Samuelson causes Seb to reach his breaking point. Samuelson is kidnapped and held for a ransom to be paid to the Can Tho Hospital. This act is Seb's undoing and like all good tragedies there is an inevitable decline of fortune. Readers are able to grasp the situation and don't need to be hammered over the head with pages of anti-American rhetoric, justified or not, which becomes complete overkill and takes away from the interesting plot developments and quality writing. The jacket copy is carelessly done as if whoever wrote it had never read the book.

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