A New York Times Notable Book
"After my first book was published, I received some letters." So begins Sigrid Nunez's haunting novel about the poignant and unusual friendship between a novelist and the retired army nurse who seeks her out. Among the letters the narrator receives is one from a Rouenna Zycinski, who recalls a forgotten childhood connection and asks for a meeting. First wary, then fascinated by the stories Rouenna tells about her life as a combat nurse in Vietnam, the narrator flatly declines her request that they collaborate on a memoir. Only later, in the aftermath of Rouenna's shocking death, is the narrator drawn to write about her friend—and her friend's war. Writing Rouenna's story becomes all-consuming, at once a necessity and a solace.
For Rouenna, an unforgettable novel about truth, memory, and unexpected heroism, is also a remarkable and surprising new look at war by one of the most gifted writers of her generation.