Blood and Soap: Stories

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Seven Stories Press, 2004 - Fiction - 138 pages
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Blood and Soap is a breakthrough collection of modern-day fables from a wildly inventive American writer whose fiction has been called "terse and edgy" (Booklist) and "vividly imagined" (Kirkus Reviews). Dinh's gift is for constructing, in the manner of Italo Calvino, simple narratives that quickly frame larger questions; with a poet's timing, the author builds his stories to the one or few climactic sentences that brand them with unforgettable meaning. In one tale, a Vietnamese boy's self-guided, haphazard study of English gives way to a meditation on the universality of language: "Everything seems chaotic at first, but nothing is chaotic. One can read anything: ants crawling on the ground; pimples on a face; trees in a forest." In another story, a man opens a newspaper and sees the photograph of a man he may have murdered, which he impulsively clips, only to feel that in doing so he unwittingly has sealed his crime: "As soon as I finished, I realized what I had done: by cutting my father's likeness out of the newspaper, I had removed him from the world." The collection crescendoes in displays of raw creative power, as in "Eight Plots," a rapid-fire of three- and four-sentence summaries, and the brilliant, impressionistic "!"
Blood and Soap is an arresting collection from one of a small number of writers on the vanguard of American fiction.
 

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Contents

II
1
III
5
IV
19
V
25
VI
31
VII
39
VIII
41
IX
47
XXI
83
XXII
85
XXIII
87
XXIV
91
XXV
93
XXVI
99
XXVII
105
XXVIII
111

X
49
XI
51
XII
55
XIII
59
XIV
61
XV
63
XVI
67
XVII
71
XVIII
73
XIX
79
XX
81
XXIX
121
XXX
123
XXXI
125
XXXII
127
XXXIII
129
XXXIV
131
XXXV
133
XXXVI
135
XXXVII
137
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About the author (2004)

A recipient of a Pew Foundation grant, a David T. Wong Fellowship, a Lannan Residency and, most recently, the Asian American Literary Award, LINH DINH was born in Saigon in 1963 and emigrated to the United States in 1975. An acclaimed and provocative writer of short stories and contemporary fables, he is also the author of several books of poems and a novel, Love Like Hate. Linh has edited the anthologies Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam and Three Vietnamese Poets. His collection of stories, Blood and Soap was chosen by the Village Voice as one of the Best Books of 2004. Linh's nonfiction essays have been published regularly at Unz Review, LewRockwell, Intrepid Report and CounterCurrents, and his blog, Postcards from the End of America (linhdinhphotos.blogspot.com), is followed by thousands of readers. He has also published widely in Vietnamese.

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