Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Texas Tech University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Apocalypse Hotel presents the reader with a world of sordid Hobbes-ian cruelty: distorted personalities prey on each other with gleeful malevolence; sex is a weapon, corruption a given, violence an amusement, and greed a cultivated norm. In spite of that grim litany the novel—brought out in 2002 by a daring and courageous editor at the Da-nang Publishing House aft er all other major, and even minor, publishers in the country refused to publish it—has sold more than 50,000 copies, ...
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During the summer of that year the beach of Bình Sơn was shaken by the reported death of a young lady who had gone swimming with some male friends. Every summer, on some beach, a victim would drown: the annual tax the beach pays to the ocean. Th at summer she was it. Who knows, maybe next year it’ll be me. Th e beach tax collector is strict as fate. In fact, he is exactly like fate—he collects what is owed without any warning. In the summer heat, people impulsively hop into their vehicles ...
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On the day of Cốc’s funeral there happened to be four beauty pag-eants going on in town: Th e Summer Pageant, the Elegance Pag-eant, the Sports Pageant, and the Fashion Pageant. At the same time there were also dozens of sold-out concerts. Th e singers were run ragged from show to show and the fans didn’t have enough energy to take fl owers to all the beauty queens, former beauty queens, and former and present superstars. So it was that Cốc’s funeral was unattended by friends or fans. ...
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The two of us didn’t need to return to Hanoi. Th e culprit appeared in Saigon. It was Phũ who discovered her. He dashed into the room, grabbed me, and pulled me out aft er him. His hard hands shook with burning hatred. He launched us on the high-displacement Prawn. Th e bike had been borrowed from Bóp’s family during the days of the fu-neral. We rolled up to a street vendor on the side of the road. Looking around, I thought the area looked like a gathering place for the lowest-...
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Okay, you tell me and I’ll listen. What happened to Phủ? What hap-pened to all three of them?”Th ế ’s desperation was clearly revealed in the way he asked this question. Usually he was so at ease with every thing. He rarely asked ques-tions; generally he was someone who knew absolutely every thing, who would anticipate every thing beforehand. He had translated and partici-pated in the secret meetings between international leaders, and had gotten ...
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I became obsessed with Hamlet’s fi nal line before he stabs Claudius: Th en, venom, to thy work.Th ere, that was exactly what I needed to use; that was exactly what I needed to do. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Poison must be paid in poison. But for now I didn’t dare. I wasn’t worried about the dan-gers to my own well-being. Th ế reminded me that now our family just had us two men. My daughter had died. Phũ had just died. Th e vicious cycle of ...
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Then, venom, to thy work.But Mai Trừng was no longer the object of these words. Now I had become the object. It’s true I had intended to poison her. A button-sized poison pill, wrapped in a layer of nylon, always nestled in my pants pocket. But those who live by the sword die by the sword. With someone like Mai Trừng, such a saying wasn’t a cliché, but was absolutely true. It was an immediate reality. I would die from poison. I might even die from ...
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I had to hurry to catch up to Mai Trừng. I was running out of time. If I didn’t rush aft er her, I wasn’t sure that I’d even have time to beg for for-giveness. Who knows, perhaps she still thought that I was hunting her. But I wasn’t, and if she had some supernatural intuition, I hoped that she’d somehow recognize my heart’s sincerity and benevolence. Th ere was no I felt drained of energy. I was weakening little by little. But I knew that I would, with the help of Phũ’s Toyota Corona, keep trying to fi nd her....
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I stayed in a hotel that served the tourists who came to Cửa Lớn to swim at the beach. I didn’t come here to swim. But it seemed I’d accomplished what I’d set out to do. Indiff erently, I watched the people in swimsuits holding onto their little inner tubes and running in and out of the water. Th ey were jumping up and down, capering in the waves like clusters of seaweed being washed up onshore. Maybe I would cast myself out onto the sea on a long-haul ship again. Th ose kids splashing around down there ...
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We cremated Mai Trừng’s parents’ bones in the garden of the pago-da. Th e bones went into two large cast-iron pans fi lled with gaso-line. Th e gas burned every thing down completely until the bones were reduced to ash. We had to keep adding more oil to the pans. Night fell, but the bones still hadn’t fi nished disintegrating. Mai Trừng and I had We were going to leave the temple a few days later. Mai Trừng planned to go back to the world of the living. I planned to go back to sea. But plans ...
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...1. Th e literal translation of the title is awkward in En glish: “Th e apocalypse bell 1. “Bob” is a homonym for a Vietnamese word meaning strangulation.1. It is believed that sons born on the fi rst day of the lunar month, and daughters born on the fi ft eenth, are destined to be strong, and the leader of any group 2. In Th e Tale of Kiều, Từ Hải was a mighty general who revolted against the ...
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
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Born in Hanoi in 1960, Ho Anh Th ai is one of the most prolifi c writers in Vietnam. He has published more than twenty novels and short story col-Wayne Karlin, professor of languages and literature at the College of Southern Maryland, has written ten novels and nonfi ction books, and ed-...
Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Modern Southeast Asian Literature