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Vietnam: A Traveler's Literary Companion
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Vietnam: A Traveler's Literary Companion

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Since relations between the U.S. and Vietnam have normalized, many more people are traveling to this exotic country, previously closed to a generation of Western visitors. Vietnam provides one of the first chances for Americans to know the Vietnamese outside the context of war. Vietnamese have been telling stories for thousands of years, in poetry and in song, in Chinese s ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Whereabouts Press (first published February 1st 1995)
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Dec 26, 2015 Jenna rated it really liked it
This anthology consists of seventeen short stories written by "the best Vietnamese writers, at home and abroad," selected and edited by one Vietnamese, Nguyen Qui Duc, and one American, John Balaban. Prior to my picking up this collection, I had only vaguely heard of Mr. Nguyen, while Mr. Balaban was mainly known to me as the translator of Spring Essence , the first book-length collection of 18th-19th century Vietnamese bard Ho Xuan Huong's poetry to appear in English (Mr. Balaban was also one ...more
Jennifer Lauren Collins
The stories here are full of atmosphere, containing some gems of characters and language. Each one brings in a different perspective and a slightly different take on location, so there's a great variety within the book, even with the focus on Vietnam and Vietnamese authors. The most powerful pieces are actually the ones that have less of a concentration on physical place, though, as these tend to be the stories that evolve with more attention to complex characters within the larger social or pol ...more
Kelly Lynn Thomas
Read for my Vietnam Travel Seminar. I didn't love all of the stories in this collection, and don't feel that many of them tell me much about the place -- which is something I would expect out of a "traveler's literary companion." I actually did try to read this while traveling through Vietnam, but found I didn't have enough time. What's more, the book is missing some of the places I traveled to and has some odd, generalized categories like "rivers" and "jungles." The jungle category kind of make ...more
Aug 14, 2009 Patrice rated it really liked it
This is a collection of Vietnamese short-stories from famous native authors. The rhythm of many of the stories is different than Western writing, so one story I just couldn't parse. Most, though, were interesting and allowed another glimpse into a fascinating country.
Jul 30, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book of short stories, some very touching and felt closer to the country than through most of the other books I have read. Definitely recommend it for folks living or traveling in Vietnam.
Feb 22, 2008 Gwen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone travelling to vietnam
Collection of short stories all about or by Vietnamese. Topics and writing styles vary. Very interesting look into aspects of Vietnamese culture.
Nov 28, 2010 Margaret rated it liked it
A short story collection by Vietnamese authors: folk tales, poetry, ancient tales and modern narratives.
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John Balaban (b. 1943) is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose. He has won several awards, including the Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a National Poetry Series Selection, and, forLocusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems, the 1998 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. He was named the 2001–2004 National Artist for the Hono ...more
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