Sunday, April 28, 2013

JD's Review of 'The Far Out Cafe' by Stuart Chambers

Stuart Chambers' 'The Far Out Cafe' comes at you like a sustained burst of machine-gun fire.

The book has two parts to it; the first is set in the Vietnam War, while the second deals with its immediate aftermath for the survivors.

Chambers' description of the insanity of the conflict and the dehumanising of those affected is gripping, the writing intense and staccato in places. Many books have been written about that particular conflict, but only a few (at least for me) capture the psychotic unreality of individuals who have lost their moral compass. This book has that ring of authenticity to it, with throwaway descriptions of tactics and weaponry and almost casually-described slaughter.

The second half of 'The Far Out Cafe' chronicles the shifting alliances and damaged lives of the remaining protagonists, including Daniel the main character who develops an Ahab-like obsession with a man-eating shark. The narrative has a number of twists and turns which keeps it fresh.

This Indie novel would benefit from some objective editing and a little pruning in the second half where the pace slows a little. None of this, however, significantly detracts from what is essentially a visceral and ultimately a very human tale, and one that is well told.


  1. It is now a standard for you, JD, in your book reviews. You do a marvelous job of describing "The Far Out Cafe" by Stuart Chambers, inviting the readers to find those gripping and intense scenes in one of the most dehumanizing wars ever to be fought. Just as important, you invite us into the 'psychotic unreality' and the damaged lives of post-Vietnam.

    In my humble opinion, there can never be enough written or said about the tragic consequences of this terrible time in our history and about the bewildered and brave people who participated in it.

    Thank you for reviewing "The Far Out Cafe" by Stuart Chambers, and thanks to the author who undoubtedly relived in its penning a piece of hell.

    1. Thanks, Billy Ray. The Vietnam War has a terrible fascination about it. One might think after the horrors of World War II, that nothing would be able to shock us. But no ...