There has been some speculation about Zampano's past, cause of blindness, martial imagery and references etc.
I think references in the text make it clear that Zampano was a French Foreign Legionnaire, and present at the Dien Bien Phu military catastrophe which compeelled the French to pull out of Vietnam back in the Fifties. Consider the names of the Franch bunkers (Beatrice, Gabrielle, Isabelle, Anne-Marie etc - named after the FCommanding French general's former mistresses apparently) - these names are all mentioned in connection with Zampano - I believe one of the volountary readers informs Truant of this - apologies - I am unable to provide a page reference at present)
Also his blindness; a combat injury?
Now - is the House in some fashion a metaphor for Zampano's presence in Indochina - is this what fascinates Zampano? An incursion into place where he/Navy has no right to be?
Another question - one can't help but link an individual's service in the Foreign Legion with a desire to atone for, evade, or forget the past. Did Zampano perhaps commit a crime so terrible that he felt compelled to seek his own destruction in the Foreign Legion? Did he flee justice and the corpses of his wife and/or children and join the Legion?