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Blood and Soap: Stories

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 1583226427
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About the Author

A recipient of the Pew Foundation grant, the David T. Wong Fellowship, a Lannan Residency and the Asian American Literary Award, LINH DINH is the author of two collections of stories, Fake House (Seven Stories Press, 2000) and Blood and Soap (Seven Stories Press, 2004), five books of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and the novel Love Like Hate (Seven Stories Press 2010). His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, and 2007, and in Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, among other places. Linh Dinh is also the editor of the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and Three Vietnamese Poets (2001), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by the Village Voice as one of the Best Books of 2004. He has also published widely in Vietnamese.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583226427
  • ASIN: B005GNM7PC
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,776,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
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 to scrub off the ecstasy of a wonderful meal, to clear away the gaiety of a joyous celebration or to cover up the carnal sweat of midnight sex.

After having finished reading Linh Dinh's second collection of stories, Blood and Soap, I felt I was standing in the aftermath of literary mayhem and simply dazzled by the splatter. Soon thereafter, whenever I would be doing the most mundane, routine things, like getting on a bus, opening a door, or stepping out into the sun, splashes of Dinh's narratives flashed back at me: "A war is a working man's university."

Dinh does not waste his words and, thus, guarantees that you won't be wasting your time reading Blood and Soap. The majority of the stories place solitary protagonists in places and situations that closely resemble what we understand to be reality, but which has been pushed off-kilter by either the characters' own hands or the forces that Dinh pits them against. "A TOURIST WAS STABBED TO DEATH LATE LAST NIGHT IN CENTRAL PARK!" screams one of the characters from inside his apartment as he learns to overcome the silence of being foreign in the eyes of society from a New York tabloid.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I had the opportunity to meet the author when he was visiting UC Berkeley and it is worth the money. He is truly a wonderful writer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Linh is obviously a smart cookie, and has some things to say that are important to some souls struggling to cope with a world whipped into a self absorbed feeding frenzy. However, I do not need his insights on this subject. I much prefer to be distracted by just good writing. I have read fiction (and non-fiction)that I will never forget. I have already forgotten most of what I have just finished reading.
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