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She was a pretty, innocent, upper class girl. But after my father left, she lost her hold on life. Could anyone have saved her from the void?

By Mark Frankland   July 1999

In february 1968 I was getting ready to fly to Hue when the elderly messenger from the Saigon PTT brought the telegram with news of my mother’s death. I heard his bicycle wheels on the dusty concrete of the alley and the scrape as he rested the machine against the wall. When I opened the door he was standing on the step in his pith helmet, his face impassive but not unkindly, a suitable mask for the bearer of news in time of war. It was the second week of the Tet Offensive and there was a big battle in…

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