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Vietnam War movies are all the rage, again. With this, there still isn't any evidence that they show Vietnamese people or specifically Vietnamese women as whole humans.
Fire Summer begins with the political intrigue of counterrevolution in Vietnam, but it is fundamentally a quest narrative full of detours and discoveries. In the world Lam creates, strong emotions change reality. Due to the love that binds the living and the dead, the dead remain vibrant.
Perhaps, my writing comes from this hope that the stories I pass on will collide with the stories I create for myself and this will be enough of a legacy. A legacy that my family will be proud of. I am always trying to find parallels between me and the silence that plagues my family.
I sympathize with Book Hunter and with the cause of cultural and artistic freedom that Hà Thủy Nguyên and Lê Duy Nam uphold. It seems that enhanced liberties in Vietnam should ultimately mesh well with current government policies for economic integration. After all, if a nation is open to business with other societies, it follows that everyone will also be exposed to different ways of thinking about the humanities, art, and literature.
This is the argument I’m trying to make, that there’s a lot to be grateful for. There’s already that calmness, there’s already that life. What I did at that stage in my life, which was only a few months ago, I just tried to look closer to home, and thought, “this could be a lot worse.”
Beneath the shroud of morning, two mothers watch / their daughter die. One keeps her eyes closed, / the other, her hands clutching prayer, // a kaleidoscope pool collected at their naked feet / as a lotus ruptures upon the gasoline garden.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a book-length letter of a 28-year-old gay Vietnamese American man to his mother. It is a letter she cannot read, but it doesn’t make it less important. Through impressionistic scenes, Little Dog, the novel’s narrator, builds not only a picture of the life he has with his mother but a landscape of love, memory, and ultimately history.
The Missing Piece Project is so incredibly important because it demands a transformation of memory, a rethinking of how history has rendered the war in Vietnam.