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Extended Audio Sample Meditations in Green, by Stephen Wright Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (225 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Wright Narrator: Ray Porter Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Sardonic, searing, seductive, and surreal, the award-winning Meditations in Green is regarded by many as the best novel of the Vietnam War. It is a kaleidoscopic collage that whirls about an indelible array of images and characters: perverted Winkly, who opted for the army to stay off of welfare; eccentric Payne, who’s obsessed with the film he’s making of the war; and bucolic Claypool, who’s irrevocably doomed to a fate worse than death, just to name a few.

Floating at the center of this psychedelic spin is Specialist 4 James Griffin. In country, Griffin studies the jungle of carpet-bomb photos as he fights desperately to keep his grip on reality. Battling addiction stateside after his tour, he studies the green of household plants as he struggles mightily to regain his sanity. With mesmerizing action and Joycean interior monologues, Stephen Wright has created a book that is as much an homage to the darkness of war as it is a testament to the transcendence of art.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The world’s first self-conscious war becomes a rounded and powerful Zen-American novel. Stephen Wright’s soldiers are funny, sardonic, and demented, and his Vietnam War is precisely that brutal hallucination we desperately wanted to end. This is a writer of wonderfully strong and deep-reaching talents.”

    Don DeLillo, National Book Award–winning author

  • “Brilliant, scarifying…extravagant, rhapsodic and horrific…It has an overwhelming impact.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Stylistically, Mr. Wright uses short bursts of soaring language between the longer passages of the narrative. He calls his literary riffs ‘meditations’—free flights of imaginative prose. Anyone who has seen the lush foliage of wartime Vietnam—the contrasting bursts of orange flame rising out of the green jungle—will know what an inspired, and accurate, metaphor Mr. Wright has created.”

    New York Times

  • “Takes one’s breath away.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “The best that any fiction about this war has offered.”

    Newsweek

  • “Wright evokes a new historical truth about Vietnam…vivid with the rapture and terror of apocalypse.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Profoundly moving…[this] book lingers, hauntingly, in the memory.”

    Newsday

  • “The novels of Stephen Wright offer a fascinating glimpse into humanity’s dark side for those who dare to read them. Beautiful and grotesque images repeatedly collide in reams of imaginative storytelling and rhythmic, seductive prose, exposing the dichotomies that haunt the American soul. Meditations in Green, inspired by Wright’s experiences as a soldier during the Vietnam War, won the Maxwell Perkins Prize for promising first novels in 1983. Dense and disturbing, the book observes a veteran’s struggle adjusting to civilian life and how he maintains his sanity by ruminating on houseplants.”

    Morning News

  • “The first fiction about Vietnam that moved me to pity and tears.”

    Richard Elman, National Public Radio

  • “Shockingly vivid…the raw power of one man’s remembered experiences can still put you away.”

    Penthouse

  • “Possibly the best story yet to come out of the Vietnam War.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Unholy brilliance and pain and Catch-22 lunacy.”

    Gloria Emerson, author of Winners & Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses, and Ruins from the Vietnam War

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Elaine | 1/17/2014

    " Brilliant writing! Mordant humor. The Hell and futility of Vietnam is limned devastatingly. It missed 5 stars because it went on an on, long after it had made it points about the Hell and futility of Vietnam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Margaret | 1/4/2014

    " I'm about a third of the way through, and while I admire this book, I am just not in the mood for it now. Another day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by James | 12/15/2013

    " The man writes zero boring sentences. And I felt like I didn't breathe during the last 30 pages of this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Stephen | 4/27/2013

    " I read this for a Literature of War class I had in college and I was really impressed and engaged. "

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About the Author
Author Stephen Wright

Stephen Wright is a New York–based novelist known for his use of surrealistic imagery and dark comedy. His work has varied from hallucinatory accounts of war, a family drama among UFO cultists, a carnivalesque novel on a serial killer, to a Civil War picaresque. He has taught writing courses at various universities, including Princeton University, Brown University, and the New School.