DVAN organized 6 readings in Fall 2010 in San Francisco for three writers who just came out with new books: Monique Truong read from Bitter in the Mouth (at SFSU on Sept. 24, and at CCA on Sept. 26), Andrew Lam read from East Eats West (at AATC on Oct.3rd and at SFSU on Oct. 29), and Lind Dinh read from his new novel Love Like Hate (at SFSU on Oct.15, and at CCA on Oct. 16). All these reading went well with good Q & A sessions.
Andrew Lam – View Media
From cuisine and martial arts to sex and self-esteem, East Eats West shines new light on the bridges and crossroads where two hemispheres meld into one worldwide immigrant nation. In this new nation, with its amalgamation of divergent ideas, tastes, and styles, today s bold fusion becomes tomorrow s classic. But while the space between East and West continues to shrink in this age of globalization, some cultural gaps remain. In this collection of twenty-one personal essays, Andrew Lam, the award-winning author of Perfume Dreams, continues to explore the Vietnamese diaspora, this time concentrating not only on how the East and West have changed, but how they are changing each other. Lively and engaging, East Eats West searches for meaning in nebulous territory charted by very few. Part memoir, part meditations, and part cultural anthropology, East Eats West is about thriving in the West with one foot still in the East.
Linh Dinh – View Media
In Love Like Hate, Linh Dinh weaves a dysfunctional family saga that doubles as a portrait of Vietnam in the last half century. Protagonists Kim Lan and Hoang Long marry in Saigon during the Vietnam War, uniting in a setting that allows Dinh’s dark, deadpan humor to flourish. Describing his mushrooming cast of characters in unsentimental and sometimes absurd ways, Dinh embraces contradictions with the surreal exuberance of Matthew Sharpe and the stylistic élan of Italo Calvino.
Linh Dinh is already one of the secret masters of short fiction. Love Like Hate is something like a traditional cross-cultural novel that’s been shocked into life by Dinh’s uncanny ability to tell us stories we didn’t even know we wanted to hear. -Ed Park, editor of The Believer and author of Personal Days
Love Like Hate affirms that Linh Dinh’s is one of the great original voices in American literature of the 21st century. The English language is a better, weirder, smarter place with Dinh writing in it. -Matt Sharpe, author of Jamestown
Monique Truong – View Media
In 2003, Monique Truong’s debut novel The Book of Salt was met with widespread critical acclaim, garnered numerous literary prizes, and became a national bestseller. Reviewers admired Truong’s intuitive understanding of exile and identity, her lyrical writing about food and cooking, and her “subversive wit” (Publishers Weekly).
All those pleasures and more await readers of BITTER IN THE MOUTH (Random House; August 31, 2010), Truong’s second novel, which is told in the utterly distinctive, slyly funny, lovable voice of Linda Hammerick, a nearly friendless outcast in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Linda has many secrets, some of which Truong waits to reveal until later in the novel; but one secret that readers learn immediately is that Linda has synesthesia – she tastes the words that people around her are speaking. “What” might just taste like graham cracker, no big deal to put up with, but other words taste alternately pleasant (“sorry,” glazed doughnut) and strongly nauseating (“flapjacks,” sauerkraut) when spoken.
With equal parts humor and poignancy, Truong evokes how profoundly individual our experiences of the world can be, and how hard we work to fit in to social norms, often at great cost to our sense of identity. The New York Times praised Truong’s sense of “piercing yearning,” and that yearning threads through BITTER IN THE MOUTH—an aching sense of how our secrets and shame separate us from one another, and ultimately even divide us from our own authentic selves. Truong’s writing incorporates a rare combination of lyricism, deep human understanding, and spellbinding storytelling.
MONIQUE TRUONG was born in Saigon and currently lives in New York City. Her first novel, The Book of Salt, was a New York Times Notable book. It won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewell Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the 7th Annual Asian American Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and Britain’s Guardian First Book Award. She is the recipient of the PEN American Robert Bingham Fellowship, was awarded the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton for 2007-08, and is a 2010 Guggenheim recipient.