Run Me to Earth

By: Paul Yoon
Narrated by: Ramón de Ocampo
Length: 6 hrs
Categories: Fiction, Historical
3 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From award-winning author Paul Yoon comes a beautiful, aching novel about three kids orphaned in 1960s Laos - and how their destinies are entwined across decades, anointed by Hernan Diaz as, “one of those rare novels that stays with us to become a standard with which we measure other books.”

Alisak, Prany, and Noi - three orphans united by devastating loss - must do what is necessary to survive the perilous landscape of 1960s Laos. When they take shelter in a bombed out field hospital, they meet Vang, a doctor dedicated to helping the wounded at all costs. Soon the teens are serving as motorcycle couriers, delicately navigating their bikes across the fields filled with unexploded bombs, beneath the indiscriminate barrage from the sky.  

In a world where the landscape and the roads have turned into an ocean of bombs, we follow their grueling days of rescuing civilians and searching for medical supplies, until Vang secures their evacuation on the last helicopters leaving the country. It’s a move with irrevocable consequences - and sets them on disparate and treacherous paths across the world. 

Spanning decades and magically weaving together story lines laced with beauty and cruelty, Paul Yoon crafts a gorgeous story that is a breathtaking historical feat and a fierce study of the powers of hope, perseverance, and grace.

©2020 Paul Yoon (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Don't need the reader's opinion so much.

The narrator seems intent on giving his political and emotional opinion about this story and it can be very jarring, removing me from the story itself. I'd rather have someone reading who is doing by rote than a person who has too strong opinion.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Poetic Depiction of the Human Tragedies of War

RUN ME TO EARTH by Paul Yoon may be a little book but it has a BIG HEART! With poetic language Yoon depicts war on a human scale by exploring how wars effects people over time and place and how those effects can be immediate or take lifetimes to be fully revealed.

The story begins in Loas in the 1960s during the Vietnam War when the Communist Pathet Lao were in conflict with the USA backed Royal Lao Government. Centering on three orphans who assist at a makeshift hospital, we follow as their lives and fates diverge and intertwine over the decades after they are evacuated from the country. Yoon sets the tone for the story with a potent Author's Note in which he states the fact that the USA and RLG dropped more than 580,000 bombs on Loas which equals one bombardment every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 9 years straight. Let that fact sink in. That is the world that RUN ME TO EARTH begins in.

Yoon's writing is poetic with no sensationalism. The relationships and events captured in the book are both beautiful and tragic. Though wonderfully written, the narrative jumps in time were sometimes difficult to follow. I found myself having to reread passages realizing I had missed important points or couldn't tell what time period we were in.

I'll be the first to admit that I have many holes in my knowledge and sadly I did not know about the atrocities faced by the people of Loas in the 1960s and 70s. RUN ME TO EARTH was compelling because it was not a history of this conflict, instead Yoon focuses our attention on the human tragedy of this war. The book depicts how people displaced and scarred (physically, mentally, emotionally) by war are effected over the course of their lifetimes.

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