Winner of the Nebula Award: “A brutal and beautiful book” that follows the surreal, fantastical journey of a Vietnam War nurse (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
A literary departure for acclaimed fantasy author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, The Healer’s War draws on her personal experience as an army nurse in Da Nang to create a classic novel of the Vietnam War, enriched with a magical, mystical twist.
Lt. Kitty McCulley, a young and inexperienced nurse tossed into a stressful and chaotic situation, is having a difficult time reconciling her duty to help and heal with the indifference and overt racism of some of her colleagues, and with the horrendously damaged soldiers and Vietnamese civilians she encounters during her service at the China Beach medical facilities. She is unexpectedly helped by the mysterious and inexplicable properties of an amulet, given to her by one of her patients, an elderly, dying Vietnamese holy man, which allows her to see other people’s “auras” and to understand more about them as a result. This eventually leads to a strange, almost surrealistic journey through the jungle, accompanied by a one-legged boy and a battle-seasoned but crazed soldier—as McCulley struggles to find herself and a way to survive through the madness and destruction.