D.S. Lliteras' Syllables of Rain is both subtly jarring and comforting in nature. The imagery evoked by Lliteras—by combining his emotionally charged, yet succinct prose with impactful haiku — leaves the reader wanting more, but fulfilled just the same.
In Syllables of Rain, Lliteras welcomes us to follow the journey of Llewellen, a Vietnam veteran, as he attempts to come to terms with many aspects of his past so that he may embrace his present life and love. He reconnects with Cookie, also a veteran, to reconnect with life itself. Syllables of Rain churned emotions within me—I cried, I contemplated, and I empathized.
D.S. Lliteras skillfully takes us on an poignant journey with a gratifying conclusion in this unconventional novel. I recommend Syllables of Rain whole-heartedly.
Review by Sandi Linhart (March 2018)
Syllables of Rain by D.S. Lliteras
Two Vietnam veterans are determined to confront their war-time pasts and discover that they must also struggle to claim a future with the women they love.
Syllables of Rain is available on-line, at bookstores, and at public libraries. Please inform your librarian that this book is endorsed in Library Journal if your local library doesn't have it.
The VVA Veteran—“Syllables of Rain is a novel of pure genius by D.S. Lliteras....My favorite kind of Vietnam War book is short, poetical, and filled with hard-fought truth....This is that book. D.S. Lliteras brings his unique genius to bear on the world of the Vietnam War veteran.”
Library Journal—“Lliteras has created a compact, emotionally charged snapshot of two soldiers trying to make sense of the world around them. Combining prose and poetry, this slim novel [Syllables of Rain] will leave a lasting impression on anyone who is or has known a military veteran.”
Publishers Weekly—“The author models his book on Japanese haibun—it’s a slim volume in a prose style full of figurative language and interspersed with haiku. This touching book has some lovely phrases and a satisfactory resolution.”
The Echo World—“Syllables of Rain is a story about two Vietnam veterans. What is most stunning about this book, however, is the style. It is simple, approachable, bittersweet and poetic. Many veterans suffer from post traumatic stress, get addicted to drugs and alcohol, and even end up homeless. This book tells of two of those veterans, and follows their struggle to pull themselves back together. This book touches your heart, expands your empathy and inspires you to go on, no matter the odds.”
The Virginian-Pilot—“Syllables of Rain is a tripwire-taut account of two tough combat vets and their troubled attempts at re-entry into civilization. But make no mistake, Lliteras's stubborn lighthouse-turn to art and literature leaves his readers with one thing more: Hope. Wounded eagle or fallen angel, this raging writer stubbornly remains his brother's keeper.”
Format: Soft Cover
Review Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 155
"Syllables of Rain is a brilliant work of pure genius by D.S. Lliteras . . . My favorite kind of Vietnam War book is short, poetical, and filled with hard-fought truths . . . This is that book. Distilled from the water of a career of writing books like nobody else can write, D.S. Lliteras has brought his unique genius to bear on the world of the Vietnam veteran . . . Viet Man was the gritty in-country novel, but Syllables of Rain is the poetic novel of a lifetime of coping with war, of struggling to make peace with Vietnam . . . I'd thought that D.S. Lliteras' previous book, Viet Man, was untoppable, but I was wrong. His new book did the trick and more besides."—The VVA Veteran
"Navy Corpsman and Marine Corps League Member D. S. Lliteras uses a Japanese-style of writing called 'haibun' to express the journey of two combat veterans who struggle living life after war . . . offers a glimpse of the struggle many [veterans] seek to overcome. Many veterans do not find a way to deal with the struggle and a glimmer of hope can mean a great deal. This is an easy read with direct and eloquent text."—SEMPER FI (The Magazine of the Marine Corps League) - Vol. 74, No. 2, Spring 2018
"An inherently compelling and fully engaging read from beginning to end, [MBR'S Internet Bookwatch] reviews novelist D.S. Lliteras as having a genuine flair for originality, deftly crafted characters, and a distinctively poetic style of storytelling. The result is a novel that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself is finished and set back upon the shelf . . . very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections."—Midwest Book Review ("Internet Bookwatch")
"[A] sparse yet vital new novel from acclaimed writer and returning Vietnam vet D. S. Lliteras . . . Syllables of Rain attempts and achieves something far richer than yet another war story. The book is itself a survivor of the Viet Nam War—a starkly soulful testament to grief and renewal possessed of deep yet airy nuance, and a shadow world of unspoken rage and unseen thought. A carefully provocative stylist, Lliteras ups his game in this new work by marrying his prose with short etches of Zen-drenched poetry presented at the end of each short chapter in the Japanese 'haibun' style most akin to haiku. Less is certainly more throughout, as the short poems serve to exemplify and sometimes contradict what characters say and do across each smooth chapter.
There is also a great amount of poetry in the prose as well. Seemingly simple, even mundane, words like 'okay,' 'alright,' 'yes,' and 'no' are repeated both in dialogue and description throughout the book in a way that feels more like rich incantation than bored repetition. In a subtly earned way, this hypnotically spare novel of only 176 pages stands as the mirror opposite of protagonist Leopold Bloom's single day evoke over more than 700 pages in James Joyce's 1920s classic Ulysses. Both books can be said to be about heroes—and both books are heroic in each authors' style and method . . . how lucky we are that this small miracle of a book has been put down on the written page."—Literary Heist (Ontario, Canada)
"D.S. Lliteras' approach in this brave new novel is both very Miles (as in Davis) and also very Kerouac (as in the Beat Generation novel The Dharma Bums). Syllables of Rain is a book that delivers what is most artful and true in Lliteras' writing."—The MacWire (TMW) Worthy Entertainment & Celebrity News