Front Cover
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998 - Fiction - 350 pages
1 Review
Once in a rare while a novel comes along that succeeds in taking us away from home in order to show us what it means to be American. The saviors of this novel set in a Vietnamese refugee camp off the coast of Malaysia are, among others, a pair of contrasting Americans: the outsized, outrageous, and highly opinionated Reuben Gill, and a thoughtful, diplomatic woman named Bobbie Porkpie Sortini. Like a feudal kingdom, the refugee camp on the island of Bidong has a law of its own that occasionally takes note of the Vietnamese but usually ignores their needs and natures. The island is home to an array of unpredictable characters - Gurmit Singh, a Sikh in charge of Bidong who is woefully in over his head; a Malaysian police captain with a power base all his own; a variety of self-important refugee workers; and, of course, the Vietnamese. Faced with this odd collection of people and the imminent decision of whether or not to close the camp, it is no wonder that Reuben and Porkpie find themselves fomenting rebellion.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Though principally about Americans Reuben Gill and Bobbi "Porkpie" Sortini, Eggers's debut novel is set in a Vietnamese refugee camp in Malaysia. Working for a United Nations program, Reuben and ... Read full review


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

19 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

Fiction writer PAUL EGGERS holds a BA from the University of Washington, an MA from Penn State, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln. His work has appeared in Sonora Review, The Quarterly, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Besides writing fiction, Eggers writes interviews, profiles, and political analyses for Inside Chess. He has also published poetry. He is the author of the n novel Saviors (Harcourt Brace) and How Water Feels (Southern Methodist UP). He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia (1976-78) and an Education Advisor for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Malaysia and the Phillipines. In 1997 he won the Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council's Individual Artists Fellowships program.

Bibliographic information