By Tina Jordan
March 17, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
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Danielle Trussoni’s father, Dan, should never have survived the Vietnam War, where he was a ”tunnel rat,” a soldier who prowled the suffocating underground mazes of the North Vietnamese. Dan’s ensuing post-traumatic stress disorder — undiagnosed for decades — sent him sprawling into local bars and contributed to his divorce. Trussoni, age 12 at the time, opted to stay with him instead of her mother. As a girl, she spent afternoons with Dad at Roscoe’s Bar in their small Wisconsin town, and grew accustomed to his negligence and short fuse as well as the skull from Vietnam he kept in the basement. She interweaves her childhood story with a trip to Vietnam she took as an adult to better understand her father; the narrative structure is jarring, but the overall effect of Falling Through the Earth is harrowing.

Falling Through the Earth

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