I Don't Know But I've Been Told
Unfolding in the space of one night, I Don't Know But I've Been Told is a mesmerizing novel in which a man recounts to himself a story of a time twenty years past. The story is so precious that he must handle it carefully, use it gently, in order that its power might not be worn out. It is the story of Paola, a woman he met in a bar, and a group of young paratroopers, and a golden time he knew while training in Panama. He joined the army a poor, kicked-around kid who views his platoon buddies and sergeant with a kind of reverence. He and the rest of the Recon Dogs are fearless; jumping out of planes isn't enough -- they take mescaline to heighten the experience. But they are also naive, and when approached by a man who wants them to steal arms, they are easy targets. The young soldiers get a temporary reprieve from dealing with the devil when they're sent to Panama for three months of jungle training. It's a time of parachute jumps, the man's first true taste of camaraderie, and his only experience of love, when he meets Paola. The letter he receives from her after returning to Fort Bragg will haunt and protect him as he faces the consequences of his dealings. Now, twenty years later, that letter is still his talisman. And through its powers, in the space of one night spent walking the streets of New York City, he will relive the story of that time, "the last time it was good." It is a tale both raw and tender, told with a mature and singular voice that marks the debut of a genuinely extraordinary new author.
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