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Love Like Hate: A Novel

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Linh Dinh is already one of the secret masters of short fiction. Love Like Hate is something like a traditional cross-cultural novel that's been shocked into life by Dinh's uncanny ability to tell us stories we didn't even know we wanted to hear. -- Ed Park, editor of The Believer
In Love Like Hate, Linh Dinh weaves a dysfunctional family saga that doubles as a portrait of
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Seven Stories Press (first published June 1st 2008)
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Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't want the book to end. This is one of the funniest and most clever writings. The social critique is dead-on accurate but told in a witty way so that there's an affection or sympathy.

I didn't agree with or like the way the book ended but I wanted the insights and acerbic humor to continue.

Here are some quotes:

"Vietnam is a disaster, agreed, but it is a socialized disaster, whereas America is--for many people, native or not--a solitary nightmare. If Americans weren't so stoic and alienate
Chris Tempel
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
best read ive had in a few years
David Collins
The friend who lent it to me on his Kindle said I'd enjoy it, and I did. However, for a writer trying to improve his or her craft, Love Like Hate can be a frustrating read. I actually had to ask, two chapters in, whether this was indeed a novel or a travelogue.

Other reviewers may remark on the sheer number of intersecting character arcs, which a reader may have trouble juggling. This doesn't bother me, because it's fairly easy to conclude that none of the human characters is the main protagonist
Sorayya Khan
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel that plays with form in portraying a sliver of Vietnam that is not often drawn for us. It's a different kind of post war story that shows us what war leaves behind: a society trying to find its way. The price of war arrives immediately, but later as well, as human beings try to make their way. The novel is like visiting Vietnam and discovering an unexpected place not previously portrayed in the abundance of novels about the country.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, asian
I was surprised to find this title in the small English language section of the used books chain store near Hiroshima University. I wonder if it had been assigned for a class. Previous owner's marginalia gave hints about their English reading level. Without getting too personal, a big part of the reason I was drawn to this book is that I recognized the author from the Carrboro International Poetry Festival (back in 2005 was it?) organized by Patrick Herron in the heyday of the Lucifer Poetics Gr ...more
Chim Cụt Cánh
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an English book that should be read by Vietnamese.
A different view of the people in the war with details of the old days that would any Vietnamese a rush of nostalgic feel. However, with all the politics and sex, there is no doubt that this book will never be published in Vietnam.

For others, this is the book travellers need to read before visiting Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city). Although the present is a lot more modern than the period mentioned, the core culture, beliefs and thoughts are s
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love Linh Dinh. I love the raw descriptions of the places and people in his stories. His fiction and nonfiction are phenomenal.
Craig Werner
Near the end of poet Linh Dinh's first novel, the narrator observes that a billboard accurately reflecting the reality of contemporary Saigon would look like a painting by Hieronymous Bosch. That's a useful clue to the LD's approach to the complex and contradictory realities of Vietnamese experience 35 years after the end of the American phase of the Vietnam War. One of the major contributions of the novel is to provide a South Vietnamese perspective on the experiences of a range of characters b ...more
Daniel Teeter
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know nothing of Viet Nam. This book taught me a little. Through Dinh's writing it is clearly a very interesting, humble, and sad country. But then, maybe all of ours are sad––even the richer ones. Of course, just the title itself is brilliant. As a (capital "W") Westerner, the experiences of youth having to suffer under the manacles of their parents is particularly wrenching to read. While I think in many ways Eastern philosophies are superior to the West, ancestral worship leaves much room fo ...more
Dinh offers a smorgasbord of information about pre- and post-war Vietnam in his debut novel, with parts of the book reading almost like a travel guide or history book. I liked that about it, since I'm pretty sure I've never read anything about Vietnam, but these big chunks of exposition may be off-putting to other readers. Love Like Hate reminds me of those popular late '90s British movies about drug dealers and hitmen - it's a little wild and out of control but it's also got great energy and hi ...more
Dinh's first novel has much of the hallmarks that have made his short stories and poems notable: hilarious (sometimes grotesque) observations, unforgiving human depictions, and beautiful (if disturbing) descriptions. The book is problematic in many senses (especially in its portrayal of Vietnamese women), but offers a refreshing depiction of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans during and after the VN War. He's very in tune with the Vietnamese-Viet Kieu dynamic in Vietnam and critiques it harshly ...more
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed this book from the school library shelves today on a whim. Three hours later I was done. I was previously reading a PKD book, but it wasn't holding my interest so I opted for something new. It turns out that this is a fairly entertaining book. I would recommend it to anybody in need of a laugh or maybe even wants to learn some Vietnamese culture. There was some funny irony in this book as well, so if you like irony, definitely check this one out.
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Linh Dinh captures the Vietnam and her culture perfectly in this novel. I personally found this book to be very amusing. From the obsessive and superstitious Vietnamese mother, the underground, rebellious punk rock scene, and the creepy expat men who prey on young Vietnamese girls, Love Like Hate is spot on.
Brian Shevory
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious...Caliban once said, you gave me language and the only benefit is that I can curse. I feel like Linh Dinh has a similar feeling towards the westernization and colonization of Vietnam. No one escapes his scorn, but in a totally funny and satirical manner.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A novel by a poet can be treacherous. This is a Vietnamese treat like pho and cha ca la vong. And the book is so richly written that you feel Kim Lan’s words: “your father is starving in the next town and you want to eat like a gourmet?!”
Nov 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Definitely did not care for the ending, but the book was well written and described some horrible truths about the world with a slight sense of humor.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mediocre at best. Not one of the best American writers of the century as the back of the cover says.
Jennifer-Crystal Johnson
To read my official review of this book, check back at for the 60's special of the literary magazine. ...more
Feb 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't get into the book... had a hard time with the character names and I actually gave up!
Jul 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"An alphabet soup of characters" indeed.
I enjoyed most of the stories contained in the novel. The writing style, however, was all over the place.
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took too long for this book to get really good and once it did, it was over!
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting view of Vietnam and Vietnamese...made me want to read more about this country and the people.
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Mar 23, 2018
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Aug 05, 2018
Jess Duong
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Oct 31, 2017
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You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
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“Quang Trung explained to Hoa that he called his band Love Like Hate because that was how he felt about Vietnam. “I love Vietnam so much I hate her. How can I not hate her when I love her so much? I am like a son who froths at the mouth because he has to watch his mother sell her pussy. She’s sold her pussy to the Chinese, French, Russians and Americans, and now she’s selling it to the Taiwanese. She’d sell her pussy to anyone because she feels inferior to everyone. She’s thrilled to be humiliated because someone is paying attention to her. And when she’s too old to sell her own pussy, she sells her daughter’s pussy. That’s Mother Vietnam for you!” 0 likes
“Westerners prefer sex toys so they can avoid playing mind games with each other. Conditioned by capitalism, they cannot share anything. They must hoard everything from their sins to their thoughts to their genitals. The sexual situation in the West is sorrowful nowadays, and that’s why a country like Vietnam is the answer.” 0 likes
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