Happy Monday! Today’s coffee and a review is spotlighting the book Imagining Vietnam by Elizabeth McLean. This is a wonderful compilation of stories that take us from early Vietnam to more modern times. The poetic stylization of the stories brings a whole new dimension to the American view of Vietnam. Be sure to check out my entire review after the book blurb.
History explains what happened in the past; Imagining Vietnam shows us what it
was like to live in past times. Eight memorable stories, spanning ten centuries
of Vietnamese history, take us back to the drama and excitement of the past.
From Lan, dreaming of attaining womanhood in ‘The Black Stain’, to Hanh, driving
stakes into the riverbed to repel the Mongol horde in ‘The Mongolian Stake’,
Elizabeth McLean’s characters draw us into vivid personal experiences of times
gone by. Dramatic, resonant and beautifully crafted, these stories form a
triumphant debut from an author with a superb gift for storytelling.
Elizabeth McLean’s artful telling of the history of Vietnam was very imaginative. The eight stories are like eight panels in a painting. From the Mongol hordes to modern Canada allows the reader to see aspects of Vietnam that many did not know. Most of those who think Vietnam only think of the war and the tragedies that happened on both sides. This paints a completely different picture. Elizabeth McLean takes her reader on an artistic journey that will leave the imagination reeling. Though a beautiful piece of writing it does get quite complex and confusing at times. If the reader has not read Asian centered literature than it may be a bit difficult to keep up with the names and the culture. It could even be a bit cumbersome. Overall, I thought this was a great piece of historical fiction and feel that the way the story was written was inventive and true to the Vietnamese culture.