Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Committee Member
Number of Pages
The Other Country is a collection of seven short stories and a novella, all of which take place in Saigon and the Saigon area and portray the lives of its citizens in contemporary Vietnam. Given the country's recent history, this setting inevitably evokes the Vietnam War, a connection that casts the book---especially from the American perspective---into the shadow of contemporary American fiction that focuses on the war both as a historical experience and as a cultural idea: important novels like Graham Greene's The Quiet American, Robert Olen Butler's A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, Larry Heinemann's Paco's Story, and Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried. But although the stories in this collection often show the war's influence on the cultural landscape and personal histories of its characters, the war itself is rarely the dramatic focus. There are characters who embody obvious connections---former soldiers, the children and wives of soldiers, a woman fleeing Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, a man returning two decades after fleeing---but their dilemmas are always more personal and cultural than political or ideological. Most of the collection does not mention the war or America at all. The focus remains exclusively on Vietnamese characters and how they negotiate themselves in a society shaped by centuries of conflict and occupation---by memory, religion, family ties, and the constant struggle for survival, whether it's physical, economic, spiritual, or even artistic. The most prominent theme, inherent in every story, is the struggle with love and loneliness in a culture where people are rarely alone and rarely without familial and societal obligations.
Country; Novella; Original writing; Stories; Short Stories
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Tran, Vu Hoang, "The Other Country: Stories and a novella" (2006). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2670.