Archives par mot-clé : Lan Cao

Lan Cao : Vietnam Wasn’t Just an American War [NYT]

[ndlr] Nouvel article sur la guerre, une perspective du côté vietnamien sous la plume de l’écrivaine Lan Cao.

More than 40 years after its end, the Vietnam War remains, for Americans, essentially an American experience, or more accurately, an American metaphor. The continuing American inability and unwillingness to include the Vietnamese perspective also speaks volumes about how the United States relates to the rest of the world. Americans want to be understood but rarely want to understand others.

Hollywood movies have been particularly powerful in shaping America’s Vietnam War narrative. The story line may change, but the backdrop is the same. Chaos, not just wartime chaos, not just the proverbial “war is hell” chaos, but its Asiatic variant — with the inscrutable and unknowable always lurking and pouncing upon the naïve American protagonist. Predictably, as in “Apocalypse Now,” there were fetid rivers, torrid jungles and impassive brown faces as backdrops to an American soldier’s odyssey through the heart of darkness that is Vietnam.

The overarching theme was Vietnam’s meaninglessness and what it did to Americans and America. There was always the tortured, psychologically unglued Vietnam veteran like the one in “The Deer Hunter.” Metaphor takes over as American prisoners of war were forced to endure Russian roulette, a supposedly popular game played in back alleys by natives who seemingly have little value for life. Whether this game existed was irrelevant. It served to symbolize the brutality of war and the lunacies of this particular war.

Lire la suite : New York Times, 22/03/1967.

Ouvrage de cette auteure :

Image « à la une » : Soldats sud-vietnamiens lors d’un engagement contre les troupes nord-vietnamiennes près de Khê Sanh © 1971 UPI radio by Willie Vicoy

Lan Cao, The lotus and the storm, a novel [parution 2014]

[ndlr] Paru au mois d’août 2014, nous signalons le roman, en partie autobiographique, de Lan Cao, fille du général Cao Van Vien. Présentation de l’éditeur et entretiens avec Hà Giang du journal Nguoi Viet et la chaîne LA Review Books.

LanCao_TheLotus&TheStorm

Half a century after it began, the Vietnam War still has a hold on our national psyche. Lan Cao’s now-classic debut, Monkey Bridge, won her wide renown for “connecting . . . the opposite realities of Vietnam and America” (Isabel Allende). In her triumphant new novel, Cao transports readers back to the war, illuminating events central to twentieth-century history through the lives of one Vietnamese American family.

Minh is a former South Vietnamese commander of the airborne brigade who left his homeland with his daughter, Mai. During the war, their lives became entwined with those of two Americans: James, a soldier, and Cliff, a military adviser. Forty years later, Minh and his daughter Mai live in a close-knit Vietnamese immigrant community in suburban Virginia. As Mai discovers a series of devastating truths about what really happened to her family during those years, Minh reflects upon his life and the story of love and betrayal that has remained locked in his heart since the fall of Saigon.

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Réf.: Lan Cao, The lotus and the storm, a novel, New York : Viking Books, 2014. ISBN: 978-0670016921