Memories of a Pure Spring

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9780140298437: Memories of a Pure Spring

Memories of a Pure Spring is a mesmerizing portrait of modern Vietnam and its people who struggle to survive under the complexities of a post-war regime. During the Vietnam war, Hung, a well-known composer, becomes enchanted by the voice and beauty of a young peasant girl named Suong. He invites her to join his troupe; she becomes his wife and his star performer. But after the war, Hung loses his job, setting off a series of events that drive him and Suong into a destructive spiral. One of Vietnam's most popular writers, Duong Thu Huong draws on her own experiences to describe life at the battlefront, the conditions of a "re-education" camp, and the texture and rhythm, scents and sounds, of a provincial Vietnamese city. Most of all, she tells a haunting, universal story of failed love.

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About the Author:

Duong Thu Huong, author of Paradise of the Blind and Novel Without a Name (both from Penguin) is an advocate of human rights and democratic political reform, and was expelled from the Communist Party and imprisoned without trial in 1991. The Vietnamese government has effectively banned all of her novels. She lives in Hanoi.

From Publishers Weekly:

Often considered the literary conscience of postwar Vietnam, Huong (Paradise of the Blind) tells the wrenching story of three people coping with the brutal realities, disillusion and dispossession suffered by Vietnamese artists and intellectuals after the "war against the Americans." Hung is a composer and director of an artistic troupe forced from his job after the revolution; his wife, Suong, is a renowned singer stifled by the responsibility of supporting the family; rounding out the triangle is Suong's jealous, scrappy younger brother, Vinh. Huong vividly captures the vertiginous period after the Communists' victory, when Hung is shocked to find that his wartime friends have suddenly become high-ranking, impassive bureaucrats in command of his fate. Once an idealistic revolutionary, Hung is crushed to realize that redistribution of wealth means only that a new class of apparatchiks has gleefully seized power and material comforts. Hung accidentally ends up on a boat fleeing Vietnam that is quickly intercepted by the authorities. He's sent to prison for re-education, then forced to live as a nonperson after his release, with no identity card, food rations or possibility of official employment. He anesthetizes the pain of his uselessness and the memories of brutality with alcohol, and his marriage nearly unravels, but a suicide attempt by Suong has the dubious effect of temporarily reconciling the family. While Huong has a fine ear for the smug thickheadedness of Communist bureaucrats, her observations about family life and the importance of art are overwrought. The author tends to overexplain what her characters are thinking, following up with redundant interior monologues. The translation is serviceable but unpolished; cliches slip into the descriptions (Suong indulges in "the pleasures of the flesh"; another character longs for "the open road"), and the dialogue is occasionally transposed into an unnatural, slangy American English. An uneven but powerful testament to the abuses of an oppressive regime, the novel's artistry doesn't always measure up to its moral urgency. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Memories of a Pure Spring is a mesmerizing portrait of modern Vietnam and its people who struggle to survive under the complexities of a post-war regime. During the Vietnam war, Hung, a well-known composer, becomes enchanted by the voice and beauty of a young peasant girl named Suong. He invites her to join his troupe; she becomes his wife and his star performer. But after the war, Hung loses his job, setting off a series of events that drive him and Suong into a destructive spiral. One of Vietnam s most popular writers, Duong Thu Huong draws on her own experiences to describe life at the battlefront, the conditions of a re-education camp, and the texture and rhythm, scents and sounds, of a provincial Vietnamese city. Most of all, she tells a haunting, universal story of failed love. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140298437

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Memories of a Pure Spring is a mesmerizing portrait of modern Vietnam and its people who struggle to survive under the complexities of a post-war regime. During the Vietnam war, Hung, a well-known composer, becomes enchanted by the voice and beauty of a young peasant girl named Suong. He invites her to join his troupe; she becomes his wife and his star performer. But after the war, Hung loses his job, setting off a series of events that drive him and Suong into a destructive spiral. One of Vietnam s most popular writers, Duong Thu Huong draws on her own experiences to describe life at the battlefront, the conditions of a re-education camp, and the texture and rhythm, scents and sounds, of a provincial Vietnamese city. Most of all, she tells a haunting, universal story of failed love. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140298437

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