Caught in Laos’s Civil War, Three Friends Endure Lasting Trauma – The New York Times

“Run Me to Earth,” a new novel by Paul Yoon, examines the devastating toll of mass violence and loss on a handful of survivors.

Paul Yoon’s richly layered novel, “Run Me to Earth,” begins with a fierce indictment of American foreign policy in Southeast Asia, a brief author’s note providing the context: In the course of nine years, in an attempt to contain the spread of communism from Vietnam, American aerial missions made “the equivalent of one bombardment every eight minutes, 24 hours a day.” About 30 percent of these cluster bombs failed to explode on impact, blighting the landscape (the presence of these unexploded bombs is a constant menace in the novel, affecting the characters’ every move). But like everything else in “Run Me to Earth,” simple explanations give way to deep nuance, and the single, obvious threat of American bombs is replaced by a more complex set of dangers that imperil the three friends’ safety: the unreliability of allies, the specter of betrayal and, above all, a past that continues to entangle them, confusing their sense of the future.
— Read on