In the 1960’s in Laos, where Run Me to Earth begins, the U.S. government was providing military assistance to the Laotian government in their attempts to stem the spread of communism. This was the main argument for American military use in Asia as a whole; fight communism no matter the cost. One of the main aspects of American action was an aerial bombing campaign that has no equivalent. Lasting 9 years, a bomb was dropped on average once every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day. Almost 1 in every 3 bombs dropped failed to explode.
As a result of this bombing campaign, the vibrant home of Alisak, Prany and Noi (the three main characters) is an actual minefield, every step they take could be their last. Every individual in the bombed-out former tobacco plantation-turned-field hospital is waiting for whatever inevitable atrocity is heading their way next. This glaring and ever-present mortality forges the three teenagers into resilient survivors who witness the impermanence of human life on a daily basis. They are surrounded by a lush landscape filled with tragedy and death, their memories and life lessons taught by war, loss and bloodshed.
There is a weighty, diasporatic feeling as the three youths are transported from their shared past and through their respective futures. Yoon’s web of narratives in Run Me to Earth spans multiple decades and continents, yet no matter how far away the characters physically and temporally move on, the experiences of their past stay with and affect them tremendously, consciously or not.
Captivating, hopeful and beautifully written, Paul Yoon’s Run Me to Earth is a must-read for 2020. I am going to pursue his other work as soon possible, and suggest you do as well.
Review by Joel
Run Me to Earth is in stock at the bookstore, you can order it online or call us at (505) 988-4226.