Download a PDF featuring questions for discussion of Collateral Damage.
How many years does it take for a war to end?
Collateral Damage is three linked novellas about the Vietnam War era from the perspectives of those who fought, those who resisted, and the family and friends caught in the crossfire between them.
1968: Getting Out – At the height of the conflict, Toby Woodruff decides to risk suicide rather than be forced to fight in a war he doesn’t believe in.
1982: If I Should Stay – The war is long over, but conflicts and memories stemming from those years still overshadow the Percy family’s Thanksgiving.
1993: Leaving Vietnam – When Vietnam at last reopens to Westerners, Sarah Shepherd has a chance to see where her brother died – and try to move past her anger and grief to find peace.
Fifty years have now passed, but the fissures in American society that opened during the Vietnam era remain painfully evident. And each new war we engage in raises the same questions: what is justified and when, who will fight and why, and will any good come of it in the end.
Bronze Medal for Literary Fiction, 2013 Independent Book Publishers Awards
Finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
Small Press Distribution bestseller, 2012 and 2013
What reviewers have said. . .
“The writing is masterful – so clear and bright and quiet. . . . In short, it’s brilliant… an amazing product of that unfortunate waste [Vietnam], on par with, yet completely different from, that Vietnam War masterpiece, The Things They Carried.”
—Curtis Dawkins, author of The Graybar Hotel, reviewing for Bull Men’s Fiction
“Once started, it was hard to put down – each story is written with acute understanding and empathy, as Boatwright connects the three stories across different time periods and cultures. I imagine that these tales will also resonate with those who were affected by the recent Iraqi/Afghan wars as well; the principles are the same no matter which conflict is written about.
—Joseph L. Annamura, The Thugbrarian Review
“These are engrossing stories told with considerable artistry, full of recognition and sympathy.”
—Diane Johnson, author of The Shadow Knows
Cover photo: Angeli Kirk