Heavy load lifted by sharing war stories
TASKED with counselling an out-of-control Iraq war veteran battling post traumatic stress disorder, Ed Costigan is shocked at the level of aggression he receives so he decides to deploy a special weapon, his own experience in Vietnam.
Ed discovers Tim Finnegan's father, Bill, served in Ed's battalion during the Vietnam War, he decides sharing his life story with the shattered veteran could be the way to get through to him.
Over an afternoon Tim's violence toward Ed diminishes as he shares key moments of the 40-year period following his tour of duty in Vietnam
Ballina plant operator Steve Nethery, or S.E. Nethery as the book's cover names him, has come up with a compelling tale in his first book, Heavy Load.
Written in the first person and set in the Sutherland Shire, its plot revolves around Ed, a Vietnam veteran and recovering alcoholic's attempts to help Tim conquer his demons.
The parallel stories of Ed and Tim eventually lead to a dark secret, but paradoxically reveal a way through the effects of PTSD for both men.
Nethery said the story has resonated with veterans, who have praised the work.
"I spoke at the Ballina RSL about the book and had a great reception," he said.
"But it's not just a story about two ex-soldiers swapping war yarns. There's a love story in there as well."
Vietnam veteran Lyndsay Moynham also enjoyed the lighter side of Nethery's novel.
"I found, in the pages, a very touching and moving, but at times comical story," he said.
"I can tell you as a non-reader I literally couldn't put it down.
"It had me at one point with tears in my eyes another filled with laughter and yet I found myself saying, 'I didn't see that coming'."
Nethery's path to his first novel is a long one.
"I was born and bred in Caringbah the seventh child of a seventh child of a seventh child," he said.
"I received my secondary education at both De La Salle Caringbah and Cronulla.
"On leaving school I received my tertiary education at Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture at Yanco where I studied agriculture for two years
"I presently live in Ballina in Northern Rivers of NSW where I work for a local earthmoving company as a plant operator/truck driver.
"I have many interests including rugby (both codes), cricket, golf, 4WD, music and reading to name a few."
Writing Heavy Load has also allowed Nethery to engage his true love, a keen interest in military history.
"I have walked the Kokoda Track in PNG and was at Gallipoli for the 100-year anniversary commemorations," he said.
"Prior to writing my first novel, I had written numerous articles on my travel experiences and war history."
Copies of Heavy Load are available at Grafton Book Warehouse.