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Apocalypse Hotel

A Novel

Ho Anh Thai; adapted and introduced by Wayne Karlin

Publication Year: 2011

Three violent deaths occur within days among a group of young nouveaux-riche beachgoers of Hanoi—but neither the victims nor the circumstances are as they seem. Is fate responsible? Or a woman of extreme beauty and mystery?When Danang Publishing House risked bringing out Ho Anh Thai’s controversial novel Cõi ngu?i rung chuông t?n th? (The Apocalypse Bell Tolls in the Human World) in 2002 after numerous others had refused it, Vietnam was a nation still struggling to find its identity decades after being torn apart by war. Ho Anh Thai’s previous stories and novels had already seized the imagination of a young postwar generation. He had become a literary sensation even as a teenager, his fresh, fluid, luminous style capturing the essence of their modern Vietnam. The book was a sensation in its author’s home country: to date it has sold more than 50,000 copies in ten printings and has been received enthusiastically by both public and critics as a work of creativity and disturbing truth.Now, as Apocalypse Hotel, Ho Anh Thai’s dark fable draws English-language readers into the divided society of 1990s Vietnam, to an underground economy in which anything may be bought and sold, youth seek speed, sex, and thrills, and past crimes still haunt the pure and the guilty alike. In this riveting, fast-paced cautionary tale, citizens of all ages and situations must come to grips with the sordid, unforeseen consequences of a war once meant to liberate them.

Published by: Texas Tech University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction

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pp. vii-xi

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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ONE

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pp. 3-17

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 an ...

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TWO

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pp. 18-32

On the day of Cốc’s funeral there happened to be four beauty pageants going on in town: The Summer Pageant, the Elegance Pageant, the Sports Pageant, and the Fashion Pageant. At the same time there were also dozens of sold-out concerts. The singers were run ragged from show to show and the fans didn’t have enough energy to take flowers ...

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THREE

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pp. 33-50

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 ...

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FOUR

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pp. 51-69

"Okay, you tell me and I’ll listen. What happened to Phủ? What happened to all three of them?” Thế’s desperation was clearly revealed in the way he asked this question. Usually he was so at ease with every thing. He rarely asked questions; generally he was someone who knew absolutely every thing, who would anticipate every thing beforehand. He had translated and ...

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FIVE

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pp. 70-77

I became obsessed with Hamlet’s final line before he stabs Claudius: Then, venom, to thy work. There, 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 dangers to my own well-being. Thế reminded me that now our family just had ...

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SIX

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pp. 78-92

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 ...

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SEVEN

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pp. 93-110

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 forgiveness. 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 ...

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EIGHT

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pp. 111-122

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 ...

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EPILOGUE

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pp. 123-126

We cremated Mai Trừng’s parents’ bones in the garden of the pagoda. The bones went into two large cast-iron pans filled with gasoline. 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 finished 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 ...

NOTES

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pp. 127-129

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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p. 143-143

Born in Hanoi in 1960, Ho Anh Thai is one of the most prolific 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 nonfiction books, and ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780896728042
E-ISBN-10: 0896728048
Print-ISBN-13: 9780896728035
Print-ISBN-10: 089672803X

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Modern Southeast Asian Literature

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