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Against the Flood (Voices from Vietnam) Paperback – July 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Series: Voices from Vietnam (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Curbstone Books; 1st wraps edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880684675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880684672
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,751,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This third publication in Curbstone's Voices from Viet Nam series blends pointed contemporary social and political observations with an emotional tale of love, art and personal tribulation set in and around present-day Hanoi. Protagonist Khiem is the director of the cultural affairs division of General Department T, a publishing house charged with circulating departmental speeches, resolutions, internal documents and some poetry and fiction. Khiem himself is a high-minded writer and includes his own work among the division's publications. At home, the brazen infidelity of his wifeAwho has had several abortions resulting from her extramarital affairsAhas doomed his marriage. At work, Khiem depends on the companionship of Hoan, a smart, pretty proofreader. They have loved each other for 10 years, but have only recently consummated their relationship. Khiem's unorthodox latest novel provides the ammunition his personal enemies and jealous subordinates need to ban his book and remove him from his job. His health and spirit are broken by the trauma of his betrayal, and he is further incapacitated when his wife invites the ministrations of a charlatan herbalist, her latest suitor. Hoan, too, is forced out of work and traffics opium in order to survive. Khang (The Silver Coin; Borderlands; An Unofficial Marriage) offers a vivid, critical rendering of a complex and rapidly changing society, only occasionally mired down by heavy-handed similes. He invokes both recent history and ancient legend to contextualize not only the struggles of Khiem and Hoan to recover and reunite, but also the loyalties, betrayals and rationalizations of their associates. Themes of integrity, idealism, love, friendship, art, opportunism, corruption and betrayal run throughout this probing vision of a world largely unfamiliar to Western readers. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"...a vivid and compelling portrait of life in Vietnam today." -- Los Angeles Times

"Themes of integrity, idealism, love, friendship, art, opportunity, corruption, and betrayal run throughout this probing vision..." -- Publishers Weekly

"At its core, the book delivers a poetic defense of literature as a tool for uncovering the truth." -- The Weekly Alibi

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Khiem is a writer and editor-in-chief of a publishing house in contemporary Vietnam when he is attacked by a clique of conformist writers. The result is the banning of his book. His lover, Hoan, is slandered and sacked from her job, necessitating her leaving Hanoi and becoming caught up in opium trafficking resulting in her arrest. Khiem's wife is a smuggler, has an extra-marital affair and dies during an abortion. His best friend is sent to Angola as a health expert and dies there. After a long period of suffering, Khiem and Hoan are finally reunited. This is the bare bones plot summary of a deeply engaging, superbly written, highly recommended novel of friendship, love and betrayal played out against a background of Vietnamese culture and politics in a state of rapid transition and change. Ma van Khang's remarkable novel is aptly translated into English by the collaborative efforts of Phan Thanh Hao and Wayne Karlin.
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