For Rouenna by Sigrid Nunez
A Novel

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From one of the most celebrated novelists of her generation, the story of a woman in the Vietnam War

"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 writer and a retired army nurse who seeks her out decades after their childhood in the same housing project. Among the letters the narrator receives is one from a Rouenna Zycinski, recalling their old connection and asking if they can meet.Though 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. It is only later, in the aftermath of Rouenna's shocking death, that the narrator is drawn to write about her friend--and her friend's war. Writing Rouenna's story becomes all-consuming, at once a necessity and the only consolation.

For Rouenna, an unforgettable novel about truth, memory, and unexpected heroism by one of the most gifted writers of her generation, is also a remarkable and surprising new look at war.


About Sigrid Nunez

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Sigrid Nunez is the author of A Feather on the Breath of God, Naked Sleeper, and Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury. She has been the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award and of two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature.
Published January 2, 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 241 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for For Rouenna

Kirkus Reviews

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Pleasing though the story of this friendship is, the subtext of Rouenna’s many harrowing tales of Vietnam is more interesting, most of the language and tension in these sections coming from the vast amount of Vietnam literature that the narrator admits to having studied.

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The New York Times

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In Sigrid Nunez's new novel, a writer rediscovers her voice through a long-lost childhood chum who was a nurse in Vietnam.

Nov 18 2001 | Read Full Review of For Rouenna: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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The resulting fiction, which alternates between the narrator's memories of the Staten Island projects where the two women grew up, an account of the narrator's relationship with a Vietnam-era journalist, and the stories Rouenna told her about the war and its aftermath, is an exquisitely rendered ...

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Star Tribune

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Sigrid Nunez provides an example in her third novel, "For Rouenna," a richly imagined tale about a novelist struggling to craft fiction from the life of an everyday woman.

Dec 22 2001 | Read Full Review of For Rouenna: A Novel

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