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The Stars, The Earth, The River

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By Le Minh Khue
Wayne Karlin, ed.
Translated by Bac Hoai Tran and Dana Sachs

The first in a projected series of contemporary Vietnamese writers in English translation, The Stars, The Earth, The River by Le Minh Khue augurs well for Curbstone Press. The translators, Bac Hoai Tran and Dana Sachs, provide an even-handed, modern text, rendering the transparent language (never calling attention to the “I” of the author) into a text accessible to American readers, and preserving a journalistic and correct style sometimes referred to as the style of Socialist Realism. Wayne Karlin, the editor, provides a first class introduction to these fourteen stories, selected, it would appear, for content that would appeal to an American audience: scenes and experiences from the Second Indochina War; veterans’ problems and concerns: the Westerner as the source of financial security, and simultaneously, as destroyer of Vietnamese culture; remains of MIAs; a failing Revolution. Even so, the stories are a window into doi moi Vietnam, and the emergent problems attendant to economic liberalization.