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A couple's scheme to get rich by killing their father backfires, leaving them in charge of a cripple. In heaven, a baby, dead through neglect, tells his playmates: "Life down there is just one long sleep." A young soldier, saved by a stranger, can never again find her to thank her. A man carries a massive clock. Using a variety of techniques and styles, in this collection of twelve short stories contemporary Vietnamese writers—edited by poet, short story writer, and novelist Linh Dinh—show us Vietnam through their own eyes. Night, Again breaks with the traditional views of the Vietnamese that have focused on the Vietnam War and turns our attention to postwar life in Vietnam. These writers present impressions--at once strange and familiar--of postwar realities.
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A recipient of a Pew Foundation grant, a David T. Wong Fellowship, a Lannan Residency and, most recently, the Asian American Literary Award, LINH DINH was born in Saigon in 1963 and emigrated to the United States in 1975. An acclaimed and provocative writer of short stories and contemporary fables, he is also the author of several books of poems and a novel, Love Like Hate. Linh has edited the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam and Three Vietnamese Poets. His collection of stories, Blood and Soap was chosen by the Village Voice as one of the Best Books of 2004. Linh's nonfiction essays have been published regularly at Unz Review, LewRockwell, Intrepid Report and CounterCurrents, and his blog, Postcards from the End of America (linhdinhphotos.blogspot.com), is followed by thousands of readers. He has also published widely in Vietnamese.From Publishers Weekly:
In the six years since Vietnam's cultural "renovation" or Doi Moi, readers around the world have finally gotten access to many of the country's most gifted and prominent authors. Night, Again collects a dozen of these often censored and sometimes imprisoned writers, such as the extraordinary Bao Ninh (The Sorrows of War), whose "A Marker on the Side of the Boat" alone makes this collection worth reading. Other highlights include work by Nguyen Huy Thiep, Duong Thu Huong, and Nguyen Minh Chau, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese Army who died from his exposure to chemical defoliants. Night, Again is not a collection of pretty stories with happy endings, but one that reflects the hardships and unfairness of life in general, and of devastated Vietnam in particular. One is always aware of how different this culture is, but lyrical language and carefully rendered characters make these stories universal. As Linh Dinh states in his introduction: "the soul of any literature lies in its relationship to the vernacular." Night, Again is an interesting cross section of life, love, loss and redemption. Although not as powerful as last year's The Other Side of Heaven: Postwar Fiction by Vietnamese & American Writers (Curbstone Press), this collection can still unite readers from the U.S. and Vietnam after decades of discord.
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