November 2, 1997 in Features

Novel Details Struggles Of Vet Coming Home

Dan Webster And Susan English S Staff writer
 

Korea was the war that history pays little real attention to. It’s treated like World War II Jr., a “police action” that merely kept American armed forces occupied until they would, a decade and a half later, get bogged down in another Asian land war.

The one fought in a country you may have heard of.

Vietnam, anyone?

In his novel “World that Never Was” (Aegina Press, 299 pages), Frank Bartel explores the tie between those two wars. More important, he looks at the culture that stumbled out of the first and tripped into the second.

Bartel, a first-time novelist who is an associate editor of The Spokesman-Review, is a familiar name to readers of this newspaper. A longtime observer of the area business scene, Bartel writes a regular column.

In “World that Never Was,” however, his intent is far more ambitious. In telling the story of one of the American soldiers who refused repatriation following the Korean War’s end, Bartel wants nothing less than to document the “cultural miscarriage that begat the wrenching intergenerational upheavals of the second half of the century.”

He centers on the soldier, but his protagonist is really the soldier’s father - a politician from a smallish town who has designs to be a U.S. senator. The father’s ruthless drive is threatened by his son’s actions, which the elder man understands only in how it affects his own political chances.

It takes a murder, finally, to force him to see the truth. About his son, about his world, but mostly about himself.

Bartel, a Korean veteran himself, will read from his book at 2 p.m. Friday at B. Dalton Bookseller, 702 W. Main. He will also have readings at bookstores throughout the region in the coming weeks.

Radio show on regional books

Sometimes it’s pleasant to be read to. Those who share these sentiments can tune into “StoryLines America,” a new radio series focusing on regional literature, broadcast on KPBX-FM Public Radio from 9 to 10, Mondays nights through December.

Many of the authors whose works are read in the series will be familiar to readers of Northwest literature. Where this program differs from the weeknight “Radio Reader” by Dick Estell is the format which includes guests discussing the book.

Monday’s program is on “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean with guests Gwyneth Mapes, a University of Montana instructor who lectures on a feminist reading of the book; David James Duncan, author of “The River Why”; and William Studebaker, author of “River Religion & Travelers in an Antique Land.”

Reader board

The launch party of a new book, “Mootsy’s Anthology: 1996-1997,” will be at 5 p.m. today at Mootsy’s Tavern, 406 E. Sprague. The anthology contains the works of 23 authors and two photographers from the Spokane literary community. The launch party is a potluck; reading and admission is $5. For information, call 326-4169.

Tacoma author Philip H. Red Eagle will read from his novellas “Red Earth: A Vietnam Warrior’s Journey” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. The book details the experiences of Sgt. Raymond Cro-Belt through a 25-year period that included his Vietnam War experiences, his return home, and then another return to war.

Spokane poet Virgil Stortroen will read from his new collection of 66 poems, “Pieces of My Mind,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Auntie’s. Stortroen, a guitarist and songwriter, will also perform.

Writer Carolyn Kremers will read from her memoir, “Place of the Pretend People: Gifts from a Yup’ik Eskimo Village” at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Spokane City Council Chambers. Kremers is a faculty member of the Eastern Washington University Creative Writing Program and has received the PEN/Jerard Fund Award for emerging women writers of nonfiction.

“The Lewis and Clark Expedition in Washington: Best, Worst, and Might-have-been Moments” will be staged by Robert Carriker at 2 p.m. Saturday at the downtown Spokane Library, 906 W. Main. Carriker is a history professor at Gonzaga University and has written three books on Western frontier history.

Seattle author Marilyn Roy will appear at Huckleberries, 926 S. Monroe, from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday to discuss her new book, “Eye-Robics: How to Improve Your Vision.” Sightimpaired since childhood, Roy explains how she has improved her vision through exercise.

Ladd Hamilton, a Lewiston author, will discuss his new book, “Snowbound,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Lewis-Clark Center for Arts and History, 415 Main, in Lewiston. The non-fiction book tells the story of five men hunting in the late fall of 1893 who became trapped in the Bitterroot Mountains by an early storm and encountered an ethical dilemma when one became seriously ill.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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