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From the Publisher
"The author is revealed as a fine, spare stylist with a flaire for satire." -- New York Times Book Review
"There were three of us. Three girls. We lived in a cavern at the foot of a strategic hill ... Our job was to sit there. Whenever a bomb exploded, we...
"There were three of us. Three girls. We lived in a cavern at the foot of a strategic hill ... Our job was to sit there. Whenever a bomb exploded, we had to run up, figure out how much earth was needed to fill the hold, count the unexploded bombs, and, if necessary, detonate them. They called us the Ground Reconnaissance Team. That title inspired in us a passion to do heroic deeds and therefore our work was not that simple." So begins the first story, "Distant Stars."
Born in 1949, Le Minh Khue was no stranger to the vagaries of Land Reform politics and war. Colored by her stint as a war correspondent in Vietnam, Khue's level gaze lingers over the shambles of a war-torn country and its reconstruction to examine the soul of a people whose culture has all but been destroyed.
The Stars, the Earth, the River contains an excellent introduction by the translators, grounding the stories in Le Minh Khue's personal history; the narrator of "A Day on the Road" speaks from having witnessedthe carnage of war. You simultaneously feel the rage of the author and the narrator when Khue disparagingly notes that the conversations around her center on luxuries, motor scooters, and business deals. Of what use, these stories ask, is such suffering? How can a culture honor the losses of war?
|The Distant Stars||1|
|The Blue Sky||21|
|A Day on the Road||37|
|Scenes from an Alley||55|
|Fragile as a Sunray||64|
|The Almighty Dollar||76|
|The Last Rain of the Monsoon||97|
|A Very Late Afternoon||135|
|The Coolie's Tale||150|
|An Evening Away from the City||158|
|A Small Tragedy||178|
Posted February 20, 2001
Interesting stories but a limp translation. The translators' ears seemed to be tuned to the rhythm of the Vietnamese language but the patterns don't come across well into English. Time and again I was brought up short by awkward wording, making it hard to keep focused on the stories themselves. It makes for very hard going. Such a talent author deserves better.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.