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Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Social Commentary, Empathy in Nguyễn Quang Thân's Short Story Collection

Nguyễn Quang Thân passed away on March 4, 2017, several weeks before I moved to Saigon. So of course I never met him, but I feel like I know him. My first introduction was via An Insignificant Family,...

in Loạt Soạt

A World of Riveting Medically Inspired Magic in Vanessa Le's YA Debut

Captured by Butchers, the “blackmarket bogey men who deal in rare goods,” Nhika Suonyasan is caged and auctioned off to the city’s elite. A figure in a fox mask attempting to purchase her is outbid by...

in Loạt Soạt

'The Mountain in the Sea' Is a Meditation on Myths, Monsters, and the Mind

“A myth,” said existentialist psychologist Rollo May, “is a way of making sense in a senseless world.” Humans need myths and legends to survive. And they need us to survive too; it’s how we’ve learned...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Khải Đơn's Poetry Debut Won't Shy Away From the Mekong Delta's Untold Complexities

Environmental devastation, irresponsible development, economic imperilment, social ills, war legacies and the abandonment of cultural traditions and connections: these multifaceted, interconnected rea...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

'The Chosen and the Beautiful,' a Queer, Magical, Asian American Gatsby Remix

“The Great Gatsby, but with an Asian American narrator and some of the characters are queer and there’s magic.” This is a fine elevator explanation for The Chosen and the Beautiful.

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

A Memoir Ruminates on Saigon in the Now and via Childhood Memories

Born in Saigon in 1977, Tuan Phan and his parents left for America via boat in 1986. Remembering Water includes depictions of the voyage including lengthy stops in refugee camps followed by acclimatio...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Bảo Ninh's English-Language Return and the Magic of Mundane Moments

Of all 20th-century Vietnamese authors whose works were translated into English, none have received more high-profile attention than Bảo Ninh for his wartime novel Nỗi buồn chiến tranh (The ...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

The Fraught Human-Earth Dynamics in 'Revenge of Gaia,' a Collection of Vietnamese Eco-Fiction

Stories focusing on the natural world and humanity’s relationships with the environment existed before the term eco-literature became popular in the west in the 1970s, but since its coinage, writers a...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

'Bronze Drum,' an Entertaining, TV-Ready Reimagining of the Legend of Hai Bà Trưng

Turning a beloved but brief legend based on scant historical evidence into a page-turning novel is no easy task. But Phong Nguyen’s book Bronze Drum succeeds in depicting the upbringing and rebel...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Thuận’s Novel 'Chinatown' Targets the Tedium of Migration

Vĩnh, born in Hanoi to a Vietnamese mother who studied in the Soviet Union and teaches English in France, and an ethnically Chinese father raised in Hanoi but now working in Chợ Lớn, dreams of the day...

in Loạt Soạt

Once Derided, 'Lục Xì' Is a Trail-Blazing Lesson in Nuanced Sympathy

Lục Xì is a reportage written by Vũ Trọng Phụng in the first volume of Tương Lai newspaper in 1937. In the series, Phụng describes his experiences visiting the dispensary (nhà lục xì) where prostitute...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

'Chronicles of a Village' Is an Avant-Garde Deconstruction of the Familiar Rural Vietnam

How would you tell the story of your birth soil?

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

How to Navigate Coming Out to Your Parents With the Help of 3 Fairy Tales

Sometimes stories can articulate what we cannot put into our own words. Fairy tales can function as long-form proverbs that allow people to identify and pass on important values, expectations and expe...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Saigoneer Bookshelf: Ocean Vuong Asks Questions in 'Time Is a Mother'

Fame and poetry rarely go together.

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Saigoneer Bookshelf: The Instruction Manual of Phillips H92X Offers Something for Everyone

Engaging plot or strong characters? Fantastic escapism or insightful depictions of the real world? A sweeping epic across generations and nations, or a deep examination of a brief moment in time? What...

in Loạt Soạt

Heartfelt, Queer and Wickedly Witty: How Poetry Collection 'Come Clean' Sparks Joy

Joshua Nguyen lists himself as many things on his Instagram bio — a writer, a PhD student, a boba snob. He received his MFA from the University of Mississippi, where he is currently studying for ...

Michael Tatarski

in Loạt Soạt

A Wildly Original Intermingling of Tales From Vietnam, Past and Present

In the Saigoneer office — which I haven't actually seen in person for months — a common concern is the prevalence of the war in literature about Vietnam. Even among younger writers, particul...

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Saigoneer Bookshelf: 'Luminous Nights' Explores the 20th Century Literary Landscape

Why haven’t some of Vietnam’s most famous early 20th-century short stories been translated into English?

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Saigoneer Bookshelf: 'A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure' Speaks Many Voices

When I first met Hoa Nguyen several years ago in Hanoi, it was her first trip back to Vietnam since she left as a child.

Michael Tatarski

in Loạt Soạt

A Portrait of Loss, Growth and Adaptation in New Orleans' Vietnamese Community

When it comes to the Vietnamese diaspora in the United States, everyone knows about California’s huge community.