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Re-Entry: A Novel
  • Michael P Pagano, Fairfield University

RE-ENTRY is a novel about a college professor who struggles with his memories of Vietnam. Tony Terratello is an ex-army medic who seeks the help of a psychiatrist, Dr. Ebrew. Tony explains to Dr. Ebrew that he's trying to find a way to survive his postwar dilemmas. Tony seems to want nothing to do with a world he views as inhumane and hypocritical, but at the same time he is teaching Shakespeare, hope, and vision to college students. He attempts through therapy to find refuge from his memories and a reason for his existence. With Dr. Ebrew's help he begins to realize that in order to overcome his past he must relive it.

Tony's re-entry into society can only be accomplished through years of psychotherapy. In those counseling sessions Tony discusses his troubled life. He cannot find peace within himself. He's divorced, dating three women, and looking for hope in the lives of his students and the fictional world of literature. In spite of his efforts to find a niche, he's been unable to make an adjustment back into society. He tells the psychiatrist that he left the states in 1965, knowing the differences between right and wrong, and in less than 24 hours he saw those differences blur and change without any explanation. His inability to make the difficult transition from wartime medic to peacetime professor is at the heart of the novel. Tony's despair at being the only member of his platoon who wasn't wounded or killed is equaled, 13 years later, when his marriage ends in divorce.

Dr. Ebrew helps Tony to understand his prewar savior-complex, which the psychiatrist believes is the product of Tony's Christmas birthday and the fact that he is the son of Italian parents. Gradually, Tony and Dr. Ebrew begin to discover how the trauma of the war, Tony's self-imposed isolation, and his feelings of failure affected his chances for a fulfilling life.

Publication Date
May, 2011
Citation Information
Michael P Pagano. Re-Entry: A Novel. (2011)
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