January 1, 1999: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Mockingbird: Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Peace Corps Malaysia : The Peace Corps in Malaysia: January 1, 1999: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Mockingbird: Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia

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Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia



Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia

PAUL EGGERS


Fiction writer PAUL EGGERS holds a BA from the University of Washington, an MA from Penn State, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. His work has appeared in Sonora Review, The Quarterly, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Besides writing fiction, Eggers writes interviews, profiles, and political analyses for Inside Chess. He has also published poetry. His novel, Saviors, will is newly published by Harcourt Brace. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia (1976-78) and an Education Advisor for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Malaysia and the Phillipines. In 1997 he won the Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council's Individual Artists Fellowships program.


PAUL EGGERS'
SAVIORS

Reuben Gill's fondest wish is to be assigned by the UN High Commission on Refugees to Bidong, Malaysia, where he believes he can recapture his idyllic Peace Corps days. What he finds will change him forever. Written with energy and true wit, this is a novel about how difficult it is to save the world, about doing the right thing for the wrong reasons and the wrong thing for the right reasons. It's a novel about the impossibility and the necessity of hope. In the tradition of Joseph Heller's Catch 22, Saviors is a darkly comic look at good intentions gone awry. It's a funny, thoughtful novel of great power.

"Wow! What a debut! Eggers is a masterful writer, and this book positions him to join the ranks of Maugham and Forster and Conrad, Paul Theroux and Norman Rush. Saviors is as funny as Twain and as dark as Stone. I gulped it down, amazed by the deftness of Eggers' style. Saviors is an enormously accomplished and entertaining novel." Bob Shacochis, author of Swimming in the Volcano

"Saviors is never anything but spirited, funny and, if such a word can be used, wise. It is a lovely book, keenly perceived, original, and wonderful to read." Craig Nova, author of The Universal Donor

"This first novel is bleak but also steeped in black humor that is reminiscent of MASH." Booklist

"Paul Eggers seems to have learned from someone that the novelist is allowed to think, so bravo! This is a serious, painful first novel by someone as daring as he is well-informed." Paul West, author of Lord Byron's Doctor


MR THANH, ORIGINALLY OF SAIGON, conducted his camp-wide rat pogrom so thoroughly that the kids were reduced to throwing rocks at each other. Some boys got beaned, and Mr Thanh, the most responsible Viet I knew in the Bidong Island refugee camp, blamed himself and went around shelfter to shelter, apologizing to all their parents, more than twenty families. This was Mr Thanh's way. Before getting on a boat out of Vietnam, he had been a colonel with the South Vietnamese army. But even now, stateless and dependent, another Viet biding his time on Malaysian soil, he wore a dashing yellow scarf imprinted with the name of his old regiment.

I was the UN education adviser, the camp's English teacher. Mr Thanh was my regugee assistant. I had picked him out myself, struck by his earnestness, and would give him occasional gifts, whatever I could scrounge. Mr Thanh and I were two of a kind. I understood his need to be forgiven he had let the camp down, he said and I think I even understood the state of mind that made him, after a day of brush-offs from the boys' parents, walk into the island's Zone C school the next morning and root around the UN educational-supplies closet and, without asking permission, drag a filthy visual aid, a mannequin, down to the beach to wash clean. What I culd not do that morning was clear his supply-closet forway with the camp's Malaysian security fucks. Mr Thanh had acted on his own. If only I had known that he was going to take the mannequin, I could have stopped refugee-camp logic from taking over.

Reprinted with permission

from Saviors

Copyright © 1999

by Paul Eggers

Harcourt Brace


Selected Publications
of Paul Eggers


BOOKS

Saviors, Harcourt Brace, 1998

STORIES

"RPM," American Literary Review, Spring 1999

"Reuben Chained," William and Mary Review, Spring 1996

"Anything You Want, Please," Northwest Review, Winter 1996

"The Year Five," Sonora Review, Fall 1994 (with preface by Jane Smiley)

"How the Water Feels," The Quarterly, Winter 1992

POEMS

"Poem for a Roommate, Another Country," Seattle Times, 26 March 1980

"Old Douglas Coming Out of Wesport, Again," Tendril, Spring 1979

AWARDS

James Fellowship for Novel-in-progress, Heekin Group Foundation, 1997

Merit Award, Nebraska Arts Council's Individual Artists Fellowships program, 1997

First Place, Quarterly West Novella Competition, 1995 (chosen by Jane Smiley)

First Place, Marie Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Short Fiction Award, Graduate Student Division, University of Nebraska, 1993

First Place, Vreeland Award for Creative Writing, Graduate Student Division, University of Nebraska, 1992

Chess Journalists of America Award, 1989

First Place, Centre County Festival Poetry Competition, "At the Refugee Camp on Bidong Island: A Villanelle," July 1984





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Story Source: Mockingbird

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malaysia; Writing - Malaysia

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