Synopsis from cover:
In Ithaca, New York, in 1982, Larry Markham awakes to discover his wife, Vicki, has taken their young son, Scott, and left him - not for the first time, possibly for the last. It is a deep blow to a life already in fragments: a dead-end job delivering Wonder Bread; a strained relationship with his aging father, a veteran of World War Two; and weekly visits to the VA hospital where Larry, a former Army medic, leads a support group for disabled Vietnam vets. As he struggles to win Vicki back, Larry finds he is in danger of a far more imminent sort: A disturbed member of the support group - a trained CIA assassin - has disappeared, and is stalking Larry and his family. His methods send an unmistakable message: The game will end in death.At the same time, The Names of the Dead is a harrowing and heartfelt portrait of the Vietnam War and the men who fought it. The year is 1968, the place A Shau valley, and Larry Markham - nineteen and green - must find a way to keep his platoon alive. Here we see the stories Larry cannot bring himself to tell - of friends who made the ultimate sacrifice in a war their country scorned. The Names of the Dead is the story of a man trying to find his way back to himself - a story about storytelling and memories that refuse to fade. It is the story of a man rediscovering the courage to love one woman, and, through her, the world, his country, his family, and finally himself.
"Larry Markham's wife left him while he was asleep." first sentence.
"There was no real. There were the dreams and there was what Larry Markham remembered. They did not change. In both, his platoon all died." pg. 3
"She never left him for more than a few days. That was what this was. It was Monday, and he was sure to have a full truck..." pg. 4
"She was the one who turned out the light every night, and now, without her, he thought it fitting that he leave it on. When they came to him later - when Pony came, or Bogut, or Carl Metcalf, and he woke up with his hands miraculously cleansed of blood, when he missed his dead so much that he wanted to be alone with them, if only in sleep - he would need the light. To remind him that there was another world. To remind him that he was alive." pg. 38
"It don't matter if they're dead, they come get you anyway...come for you every night." pg. 59
He tried to imagine Creeley out there somewhere, field-striping his cigarettes as he prepared to break camp at the edge of someone's back pasture, but it didn't fit with the day, the slow stirring of people getting ready for work, the lunches that needed to be made, the patient drawing on of socks. Knowing he was out there among the still houses and gravel backroads made Larry uneasy." pg. 88