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Dragon House by John Shors

Dragon House

by John Shors

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John Shors is one of my most favorite authors and 'Dragon House' is a wonder. This book shines with love,forgiveness,hope,sorrow and beauty. The author was able to travel to Vietnam several times as in his other travels in Asia was impressed with large numbers of street children. He is donating a portion of the proceeds of Dragon House to this organization.

Some of his own experiences like playing Connect Four with a street chid are reflected in this book about the street children of Vietnam. John Shors built a group of characters who meet each other and become a family.

Two Americans start the story. Iris is a book reviewer, who had always jealously guarded time with her father. Her father had served in Vietnam but never talked about it. When he was dying, she vowed to him to take on his mission of helping the street children of Vietnam.

Noah had a crush on Iris that disappeared after he got back from Iraq. He lost part of his skull and right leg when his humvee hit a roadside bomb. But that wasn't all he lost.

Mai and Minh were street children under the control of an evil man who was a former street child himself but now had the children work for him to bring in money to feed his opium habit and taste for beautiful women.

Qi, was a loving grandmother sold little books on the street while watching over her little granddaughter, Tam who was very sick.

There are more characters who befriended the ones above but for those six above, the future looked very bleak and scary. This book brings hope to the reader and to the street children of Vietnam. This is a book that you will never forget.

I recommend this book strongly to all fans of John Shors and all those would care deeply about the fate of children left on the street, to sleep, find food and survive. ( )
  Carolee888 | Mar 3, 2012 |
This book didn't really do much for me. I felt the characters were very contrived and formulaic and the dialogue was cheesy. The best thing I can say is that I found it interesting to read about many of the places I visited in Vietnam in January. ( )
  lisaflip | Oct 2, 2011 |
Set in Asia, Dragon House is a story of redemption and healing. The story takes place in modern day Vietnam and tells the story of two Americas, Iris and Noah, who give of themselves by teaching Vietnamese street children in unfavorable areas as a means to heal from their own pain. Iris and Noah ultimately give the children friendship, educations, shelter and love. The process fulfills the dreams of children and breathes new life into Iris and Noah. Dragon House is a story of suffering, sacrifice, courage, friendship and love. It brings the human qualities of us all together and lifts the spirit.

This is the second novel I have read by John Shors and he does not disappoint. His novels are delivered at a pace that requires the reader to acknowledge and understand the impact of our actions, thoughts, lives and the world around us. This novel is no different. It is an emotional journey as you connect with Iris and Noah as well as the children they aim to help in a country that offers little to no support. John brings depth and understanding to the story while easily passing the same information to the reader with intrigue and artistry. The characters are well developed and realistic. Iris’s story deals with her fathers’ ambition and plan to help the children of Vietnam. Though he is unable to complete this task, Iris chooses to see his plan to completion as a way to honor the memory of her father and attempt to heal. Noah, who has seen the results of war, joins her in her task, having seen the trauma of war on a nation that has so little. The book attempts to bring about the timeless struggles of human nature [good &evil] in a new light.

Dragon House was a wonderful novel, thought slow in pace. It challenged me as I read it because I deeply connected with these characters. Shors makes it easy to feel the emotions and pain of the young children but rewards you with the happiness and relief they also feel. I connected with Iris and Noah who both attempt to heal hurt from their past by positively changing the future of others. I wondered if I would be strong enough to give up my job in order to carry out the wishes of my father’s life. The novel transforms suffering into joy, hope into reality, and friendship into love and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Simply put, John’s novels command attention while delivering a wonderful story with deep insight and emotional exploration.
Reviewed for Review-the-book. Posted on my blog as well. ( )
  misswthrt | Dec 8, 2010 |
"Dragon House," is a novel of exceptional beauty, a love story of multi-dimension, and a healing experience for all who know the Viet Nam War.

John Shors has become one of my favorite authors of the 21st century. I believe he is the voice of our recent past, and a voice of the humanity in all of us as we struggle to keep what is good and moral against a tide of selfishness and instability in our world.

Mr. Shors is an author of exceptional capabilities with characterization conveying feelings and angst that will so touch your heart that you feel actually set within the place and time with his characters.

Having lived through the Viet Nam War as a child of the '60's, I found this book especially interesting. I have not been able to read about the War, per se. It was a time of loss and anger and confusion for me. A time I just haven't cared to scrutinize. But, this book gave me a way of "looking" that was thoughtful, caring and healing.

Through the eyes of Iris, the daughter of a Viet Nam veteran left with post traumatic stress syndrome and memories he could only heal by going back to create a home for street children; we see, hear, smell and feel the thriving, messy, whirling, beautiful, dangerous and noisy place called Ho Chi Minh City -- formerly Siagon. I found many of the things surprisingly familiar to me...through pictures that were flashed daily on the t.v. when our boys were over there, I suppose. I could see through Shors writings the brightness of colors, smell the food, hear the horn blasts, and shiver at the sufferings. John Shors didn't miss a beat.

Iris goes to Viet Nam to continue her father's dream and to help the street children, bringing with her a life-long friend...a now wounded, permanently handicapped vet. of the Iraqi War, who is suffering and suicidal. This character boldly gives the reader insight into all veterans returning with injuries of body, mind and spirit from the horrors of war. Along with an eternally hopeful Vietnamese woman, they work to complete the Center for Street Children that will become the catalyst for their own salvations.

Through their work, inspiration, and close companionships with a little group of starving, abused and critically ill children, Iris and Noah find a new place of rest for all. And, that included me.

I highly recommend this book for all and everyone. John Shors is an author who needs to be read because he will be one to make a mark in these coming years. He's an American writer of note and value.

I also recommend this book because it's good for those of us who have come through the Viet Nam War (a war not successful and not popular with the American people) and are going through the Iraqi/Afghani War...another one which may have a similar outcome. We might find some solace in the fact that we will survive. Timely and healing.... please read this book for many reasons.

Your Bookish Dame ( )
  BookishDame | Nov 17, 2010 |
Absolutely stunning. I give it the best compliment I can, when I was finished I was ready to go back to the beginning of the book and read it again. I loved it so much I convinced my book club to read it next month. ( )
  winecat | Aug 4, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451227859, Paperback)

From the critically acclaimed author of Beneath a Marble Sky and Beside a Burning Sea—the new novel from “a master storyteller,”* set in contemporary Asia.

From John Shors comes an unforgettable story of redemption set in modern-day Vietnam.

Dragon House tells the tale of Iris and Noah—two Americans who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. In the slums of a city that has known little but war for generations, Iris and Noah befriend children who dream of nothing more than of going to school, having a home, and being loved. Learning from the poorest of the poor, the most silent of the unheard, Iris and Noah find themselves reborn. Resounding with powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, Dragon House brings together East and West, war and peace, and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:58 -0400)

Set in modern-day Vietnam, tells the tale of Iris and Noah, two Americans, who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. Irish and Noah find themselves reborn in an exotic land filled with corruption and chaos, sacrifice and beauty. Inspired by the street children she meets, Iris walks in the footsteps of her father, a man whom Vietnam both shattered and saved. Meanwhile, Noah slowly rediscovers himself through the eyes of an unexpected companion.… (more)

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