Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia

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Overview


Virtual Lotus is the first anthology to represent diverse writers throughout Southeast Asia. Their short stories reflect the tremendous social, political, and cultural changes experienced in the region during an age of rapid modernization. Both award-winning writers and new talent are represented, including Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Indonesia), Shahnon Ahmad (Malaysia), and Duong Thu Huong (Vietnam). With keen wit, satire, and pathos their stories poignantly illustrate contemporary life and literary currents in Southeast Asia during the twentieth century.

Short introductions to each story provide a sketch of the country's literary history, revealing the interaction between individual writers and their sociopolitical situations. Many of the stories are ethnographic and provide snapshots of cultures at a specific historical moment. The stories also reflect gender balance, diversity of style, and quality of literary expression. Exploring everything from the realities of being a middle-aged woman in Burma in the witty drama "An Umbrella" to the difficult choice between appeasing a troubled Vietnamese community or tending to an ailing father in "Tu Ben the Actor," this collection is sure to appeal to a variety of readers the world over.

This anthology will be useful in courses in comparative translation and culture, postcolonial studies, political science, Asian history, and gender studies. It is also appropriate for a literary reading public interested in comparative world literature.

Teri Shaffer Yamada is Associate Professor, California State University, Long Beach.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472097890
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 4/8/2002
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue
Thadun 4
Clean, Clear Water 11
An Umbrella 18
An Unanswerable Question 25
Just a Human Being 39
A Khmer Policeman's Story: A Goddamn Rich Man of the New Era 41
My Sister 45
The Silent Center of Life's Day 56
Interview with Ravana 70
The Mysterious Shooter Trilogy: (1) "Killing Song"; (2) "The Sound of Rain on Roof Tiles"; (3) "Grrrr!" 74
The Purification of Sita 96
Death Price 105
A Bar at the Edge of a Cemetery 108
The Kling-Kling Woman 119
Two Brothers 130
Delirium 137
Dance of the Bees 146
The Plankway 158
Foolish 165
A Personal History of an Island 173
Sex, Size and Ginseng 178
Painting the Eye 182
And the Grass Is Trampled 194
Sita Puts Out the Fire 201
The Family in the Street 210
The Painting 221
The Music Child 236
The Mayor of the Roses 254
Mother Lily and the Mail-Order Groom 262
Tu Ben the Actor 272
You Must Live 278
Unsettled 284
The Story of an Actress 298
Glossary 321
Suggested Readings 325
Notes on Translators 331
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