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Blood and Soap: Stories

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  131 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Blood and Soap is a breakthrough collection of modern-day fables from a wildly inventive American writer whose fiction has been called "terse and edgy" (Booklist) and "vividly imagined" (Kirkus Reviews). Dinh's gift is for constructing, in the manner of Italo Calvino, simple narratives that quickly frame larger questions; with a poet's timing, the author builds his stories ...more
Paperback, 138 pages
Published May 4th 2004 by Seven Stories Press (first published May 1st 2004)
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Sep 08, 2016 Sally added it
Shelves: favorites
The stories are quick as bullets, many of them more allegory than traditional-short-story per say. Despite the length, this isn't something you want to breeze through -- it's something a reader would want to examine in microscopic detail. The logic and flow of the words on the page is enough to mesmerize and startle -- the events and characters often surprising.

These aren't just run-of-the-mill quirky characters, these are storybook characters whose motivations are often mysterious, but fascina
Stephen Kirbach
Dinh examines the arbitrary instabilities in language and the subsequent absurdities related to acquiring more of that. Likewise, he pushes the absurdities resulting from concealing primal urges and uncontrollable thoughts beneath a socially acceptable veneer.
Feb 02, 2008 Cat added it
Beautiful, minimalist prose, that can be so sad and funny all at the same time.
Walk-Minh Allen
Nov 15, 2014 Walk-Minh Allen rated it really liked it
Blood, that most ancient of symbols, has been offered up to purify and redeem the fallen; many believe it was sacrificed to absolve the sinners of the world and make them right again under the eyes of a higher being. Blood also has its more sinister and fatal connotations when it gushes uncontrollably, when people become "blood-thirsty" or "blood-suckers", when blood rots to black. Soap, as we know it today, is a fairly modern invention; it is utilitarian and somewhat of a killjoy. One uses soap ...more
Jan 07, 2010 Elaine rated it really liked it
Blood and Soap is an unusual compilation of shorts/vignettes. If I had to make a comparison (though none would do justice to the book), I would say it is somewhat of a Hemingway, Tim O'Brien, and Julio Cortazar mixture. But one thing I don't understand is why there are some grammatical mistakes in this book. Is this on purpose? I feel like an idiot asking this question, but it kind of bothers me. Is Dinh trying to mimic the voice of a Vietnamese speaker by doing this?

That aside, my favorite sto
Jul 12, 2007 Jacob rated it really liked it
It has been a slow stepping into current fiction for me. One reason is the sheer amount of classics I feel compelled to read. But more important is the fact that I get jealous some writer just had their book published and I didn't. But I am working on being more open and less dismissive and Linh Dinh's "Blood Soap" was a reason to keep fighting the good fight. The stories are short and feel weightless which, initially, threw me off. Luckily, it was also the reason I finished the book and only wh ...more
Stacey Nguyen
Dec 25, 2014 Stacey Nguyen rated it really liked it
Linh Dinh refreshingly explores heavy themes like neocolonialism and racism while simultaneously shedding light on the most mundane aspects of existence. He discusses identity in a way that is neither didactic nor overly serious. His beautiful and poetic writing lingers in your head. It's funny and clever, although not overbearingly so. While I do think that some of his vignettes were limited in perspective, Blood and Soap was, overall, a pleasant and thought-provoking read.
Adam P.
Dec 08, 2010 Adam P. rated it it was amazing
So focused and organized and exciting. Eerily personal at its most outlandish, yet weird and visceral at its most heart-felt. Dinh's "One-Sentence Stories" will blow you away, guaranteed, or your money back. Not really, but the book is really good
Scott Little
Mar 24, 2008 Scott Little rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Scott by: Found meself
Good read in the hot desert in the middle of nowhere. Weird and wonderful. Reminds me a lot of Keret. We are all strangers and all lands are strage.
Aug 10, 2007 Marisela rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a great book of short short fiction. Sometimes they appear to be prose poems, but I think that's up to the author to decide.

Very entertaining.
Anne Le
Aug 15, 2013 Anne Le rated it it was amazing
A master of the microstory, Dinh amazes me with his Hemingwayesque tersity and Borgesian metanarratives.
Jun 29, 2007 terry rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: terryrecommends
this is one of my favorite books. how the english language is used and manipulated is so brilliant. READ THIS BOOK! if you dont have it, i will get it for your birthday!!!
Erica Wright
Jan 14, 2016 Erica Wright rated it it was amazing
Dog or wolf? Poetry or fiction? Either way, this is one of the most innovative and entertaining collections I've encountered. Watch out for the hotel ghosts.
SpelunkingTon Wheelbarrow
SpelunkingTon Wheelbarrow rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2015
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Jan 07, 2013
Liz Colville
Liz Colville rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2011
e rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2014
AJ rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2016
Kenna rated it it was amazing
Aug 18, 2013
kianna McBride
kianna McBride rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2015
Sophronia rated it it was amazing
Nov 18, 2016
Iphis rated it really liked it
Jul 20, 2012
H.R. Hegnauer
H.R. Hegnauer rated it liked it
Mar 21, 2008
Daniel Staniforth
Daniel Staniforth rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2008
Jamie Erickson
Jamie Erickson rated it it was amazing
Feb 02, 2013
sarah dunebuggy
sarah dunebuggy rated it it was amazing
May 02, 2007
Brenna rated it liked it
Oct 06, 2011
Claire rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2009
Ben Bush
If you want compact Borgesian meta-fiction, Linh Dinh is about the best gig in town.
Empress rated it really liked it
Jul 05, 2007
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