Okay, then! That’s enough about Gifford’s Ice Cream. Let’s get back to business.
To date, SFWP’s best-selling book has been Richard Currey’s Fatal Light. It was originally published in 1988 and we acquired the rights after it went out of print around 2000 or so. Nine years and lots of hard work later, we finally pulled a reissue together in 2009.
Fatal Light has been hailed by critics and readers as “one of the best books to emerge from the Vietnam War” (Tim O’Brien).
From the publicity viewpoint, there was much discussion about the relevancy of a book about the Vietnam War. Where Fatal Light rises above such concerns is in the storytelling. There’s a timelessness to the unnamed narrator’s journey. As the narrator says, “War stories are our oldest stories.” Fatal Light strips away the time and the place and follows a young man lifted out of his world and thrust into a war. That the war happens to be in the jungles of Vietnam doesn’t change the fact that this young man’s journey into darkness could be taking place at any point in our history… And even right now, as Richard learned while participating in the NEA’s Operation Homecoming program in 2004.
As SFWP moved towards Fatal Light’s release, and America moved deeper into conflict abroad, it became more and more clear that the book had the utmost relevance. I encouraged Richard to include a brief introduction to the new edition, which you can read right here.
If you’re an educator, then take special notice. Fatal Light comes with some unique supplementary materials. For 20 years now, the George School in Pennsylvania has been teaching Fatal Light. They graciously provided us with their study guide – which is great reading in itself if you’ve read Fatal Light. I fell in love with Fatal Light when it first came out and have read it dozens of times since then, but the George School study guide peeled the scales from my eyes and deepened my love for the work. We’ve provided the study guide – free of charge – right here.
To purchase Fatal Light, check out this page, or ask your local bookseller.