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Đà Lạt-Born French Writer Linda Lê Passes Away at 58

Born in Đà Lạt in 1963, Linda Lê moved to France as an adolescent and went on to write numerous award-winning works of fiction in French.

Linda Lê was born to an upper-class Vietnamese family with French citizenship, and her education at a lycée introduced her to the French language and literature from a young age.

Upon moving to France, she embarked on a writing career which began with the novel Un si tendre vampire (Such a Tender Vampire), published in 1987 when she was only 23 years old. She rose to fame in 1992 with Les Évangiles du crime (The Gospels of Crime) and ultimately released over 15 novels, short story collections and essays in her career.

In 2009, Lê was awarded the prestigious Prince Pierre of Monaco Prize which recognizes an author's complete body of work. She also received the Fénéon Prize, the Prix Wepler, and the Prix Renaudot over the years, earning her a place among the most successful overseas writers of Vietnamese descent.

Many of Lê's books were translated into Vietnamese and published in Vietnam, including the popular Lame de fond (Vượt Sóng). Several of her works were also translated into other languages, including English.

Common themes in her novels include exile, immigrant and diaspora communities, mother-daughter relationships, and the impact of childhood trauma on adult lives. After leaving Vietnam in 1977, she never again saw her father, the effect of which she explored in several works.

The Los Angeles Times praised her writing acumen: "Linda Lê is an extraordinary writer of scintillating French prose...[she] is Vietnamese in the same way that Nabokov was Russian, writing in her adopted language with a kind of desolate grace."

Lê's most recent novel, De personne je ne fus le contemporain, was released in France earlier this year. No specific cause of death has been announced, but she was suffering from an illness for a long time.

[Photo by Renaud Monfourny via Livres Hebdo]

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