Death Coming Up The Hill
is the title of a book by Chris Crowe, a professor of English at Brigham Young University, and it is a totally novel (new) novel (Book). The story is written in 976 Haiku stanzas, where a Haiku stanza is comprised of three short verses of 5 – 7 – 5 syllables — seventeen in all.
The whole idea started from the hero’s age — 17, and the Vietnam war that lasted long enough to affect a huge number of US young men and their families. 17 became an obsession with the Author, and finding out that the total US soldiers fatalities for 1968 was the highest of all the years of the Vietnam war — 16,592 — and when this number proved divisible by 17 to a total of 976, he decided to write a syllable for each lost life, set up in Haiku stanzas of 17 syllables each.
The white verses do not have to rhyme, and are very easy to read, making the experience strange and stimulating, keeping the attention and interest to the very last verse.
What I’m trying to convey is that the verse format is an illusion needed for keeping track of syllables, to conform with the proposed total, as an homage to all fallen teens and young adults of the era, to their unsung heroism in the name of an ideal that after a very short while made no more sense to them above the need to remain alive…
Ashe, the young hero has to be part of a family war, close up and personal, where he decides to be the saviour and thus he ends up enrolling and leaving for the Vietnam war — with only one wish in his heart — to provide for his abandoned mother and his months only old sister.
I recommend reading this novel to people of all ages. It is history as well as a fiction story, as each chapter represents another week passed in Ashe’s life, and a number, representing the number of fallen soldiers of the respective week (which is history).