Love Beneath the Napalm
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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I would like, first and foremost, to thank my dear wife Dolly, for
believing so tenaciously in me, and Melissa Paa Redwood and
Daniel William Redwood, the best young people it has been my
privilege to know.
I would also like to thank William O’Rourke, the wonderful
editor of the
Chapter 1: The Photograph
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Nguyen Van Manh crept along the border of the Lake of the Restored Sword, where the magic tortoise dwelt. Ever since he’d arrived in Hanoi the night before, a city swept up in rejoicing over the end of the war, Manh had run across thousands of people, his fellow veterans mostly, dressed like him in drab olive uniforms and sweat...
Chapter 2: The Stamp Collector
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Phan Van Toan glued his eyes to the TV set above the soda cooler. The Marine assault on Grenada had just begun, and grainy pictures of C-130 Hercules transport planes and helicopters swooping down on the Pt. Salinas airfield flashed across the screen. He poured a fresh pot of water into the coffee machine and flipped the brew...
Chapter 3: The Son Returns
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Disobedient sons cost so much, Mother Binh thought. Her eyes darted from the sweat-dappled back of Mr. Lam, the rickshaw driver, to the black lacquer box in her lap. She lifted the lid and peeped at the dried-up umbilical cord resting on a piece of white gauze. Her nose pinched up at the smell of formaldehyde. Preceptor Vu would charge a...
Chapter 4: The Black Phantom
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Thuy Van sensed Father Xuan’s eyes on her as she stood above her mother’s grave, and she could almost guess his thoughts. A child that age should cry at these things. She hiked her little sister Phuong, who was blubbering, up on her hip, and watched the priest closely as he swung the censer over the grave. Holy water showered the little rectangular...
Chapter 5: Love Beneath the Napalm
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Mr. Tu leaned forward on his haunches, and with the aid of a trowel, gently dug out a weed which had insinuated itself between two of his pansies. It was late afternoon. A sharp breeze broke from the Helderberg Mountains seven miles away. Winter was coming, and he greatly missed his native village of Long Dien, which would now be entering...
Chapter 6: Numbers
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Thi Hanh and I moved to Tan Chau village last year. Tan Chau lies on the Thanh Hoa canal, which sings with freedom as it flows into the Mekong River on its way to the sea. Only the wind and the water, which you cannot imprison, are truly free. Even Thi Hanh, my daughter once, is no longer free. Children taken by the wood nymphs...
Chapter 7: Under the Rattan Stick
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The blood started running again in streaks down his back. At dawn on the morning of Monday, March 30, 1891, it woke him, just as though he was in the throes of a fever sweat. Pham the Malabar carriage driver wanted to cry out like a humiliated child wetting his bed at the sticky feel of the mattress, the sickening smell, as the coarse jute...
Chapter 8: Brother Daniel’s Roses
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Brother Daniel Nguyen looked up from his grading and peered over the top of his horn-rimmed glasses at the approach of his niece. Kim Hong was dressed in blue jeans and a light pink blouse, much to his annoyance. A whiff of hyacinth perfume preceded her entrance into his little cell, one of about forty ranged in a square around...
Chapter 9: Envy
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In the back of the bus bouncing along the Ho Chi Minh trail, Diep fiddled with her cosmetic kit. The mother-of- pearl clasp shot open to reveal vermillion, white, and black, in the dim glow cast by the light above her head. The faint scent of makeup drifted upward and enclosed her in its smell. The actress gazed upon the colors of a warrior..
Chapter 10: The Composer and the Mermaid
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He had not realized how difficult it was to complete another man’s work. Camille Saint-Saëns had had a rough passage out to Poulo Condor on the Messageries Maritimes mail packet from Cap St. Jacques. It was March 1895, and an unusual early spring storm roiled the South China Sea into mountainous waves of emerald green foam which crested on all sides of the ship. Camille hung his...
Chapter 11: The Stone Man of Lang Son
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Vo Van Tuynh stumbled up to the top of Tam Thanh Mountain and wiped his sweaty brow. His hand felt slick on his bamboo cane. Pain shot through his leg as he leaned his back against the cliff and gazed out over the jade green paddy fields of Ky Lua. The red roofs of Lang Son village glittered like rubies in the distance, beyond the Mac Citadel...
Chapter 12: The Leader
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I am beloved by my men. They admire me not only because of my courage in battle, but also because I am unpretentious, one of them, with no ambition to be better than I am. “The common man above all,” has always been my motto. When I was at the Thu Duc Military School, I was already renowned for my bravery and my loyalty...
Chapter 13: The Summer Associate
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Griswold requested, and got, an inner office with no windows. The request had raised some eyebrows, for a windowed office was one of the perks, and Murphy and Markell prided itself on treating its new attorneys well. This new attorney booted a startled paralegal into a corner office overlooking Market Street which had been reserved...
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Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2013