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Paul Christiansen

in Literature

These 5 Vietnamese Poems Pay Homage to the Complexities of Local Fruits

Fruit and poetry: the two things I love most.

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

'Longings' Brings 22 Stories by Vietnamese Female Writers to the World

Where are all the female writers?

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,...

Paul Christiansen

in Literature

How Nam Cao Almost Ruined My Favorite Canal Cafe

Spoilers for an 80-year-old story that every student in the nation is required to read: the dog dies, the old man dies, his son's misfortunes show no sign of abetting. Simply, misery abounds at the en...

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 Literature

English-Language Edition of 'Chinatown' by Thuận Wins US Translation Award

The 2023 National Translation Award for fiction was given by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) to Nguyễn An Lý’s translation of Chinatown by Thuận.

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...

in Literature

Viet Thanh Nguyen Memoir 'A Man of Two Faces' Releases Today

A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial, the new book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen arrives from Grove City Press on October 3. 

Paul Christiansen

in Literature

In Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai's New Novel, Saigon's Rhythms Hum in the Background

“I’m always homesick for Vietnam. To write is to return home. That's why I had to bring Vietnam alive onto the pages. I had to hear the people speak, I had to listen to the music, to the language; I h...

in Literature

'The Shard, the Tissue, an Affair': A Short Story by Andrew Lam

This short story is featured in Volume 2 of In My Ear, Your Voice Still Flickering // Bên tai tôi, giọng người vẫn chờn vờn, a three-part, bilingual collection of works by more than 20 Vietnamese arti...

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 ...

Khôi Phạm

in Literature

From Architecture to Folklore: 5 Indie Book Projects for Vietnamese Culture Buffs

In our years of writing about Vietnam, Saigoneer has had the pleasure to meet many passionate, inquisitive individuals whose creative and academic projects inspired us to appreciate the many facets of...

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...

in Literature

Guilt, Mortality, and Hope in 'Khát Vọng Cho Con' by Poet Du Tử Lê

“We are like fruits forcefully ripened, a generation of premature adults, a generation of misery.”— Du Tử Lê.

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...

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