A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha
Publisher: C&R Press (October 15, 2021)
Category: Linked Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Available in Print and ebook, 150 pages
A Mother’s Tale is a tale of salvaging one’s soul from received and inherited war-related trauma. Within the titular beautiful story of a mother’s love for her son is the cruelty and senselessness of the Vietnam War, the poignant human connection, and a haunting narrative whose set ting and atmosphere appear at times otherworldly through their landscape and inhabitants.
Captured in the vivid descriptions of Vietnam’s country and culture are a host of characters, tortured and maimed and generous and still empathetic despite many obstacles, including a culture wrecked by losses. Somewhere in this chaos readers will find a tender link between the present-day survivors and those already gone. Rich and yet buoyant with a vision-like quality, this collection shares a common theme of love and loneliness, longing and compassion, where beauty is discovered in the moments of brutality, and agony is felt in ecstasy.
WINNER C&R PRESS 2021 FICTION AWARD
Amazon (Coming Soon)
Guest Review by Sal
From award-winning author Khanh Ha, comes a book of short stories revolving around the Vietnam War. Countless lives were impacted by the war, and every story in ‘A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories’ showcases a little slice of that impact in a deeply personal way.
In this collection there are eleven stories, each following different characters who give their perspective on the war. Some of the stories include, ‘Heartbreak Grass,’ the tale of a young man, newly drafted into the war, who spends his last days before shipping out caring for a man that is referred to in the village as ‘Uncle Chung.’
Uncle Chung is a quadruple amputee, having lost all of his limbs in the war. He is also blind. While caring for him, the young man strikes up a friendship with Uncle Chung, and begins to wonder if the man’s wife might not be faithful. She leaves him for many hours at a time while he has to sit in his own filth.
Another story, ‘The River Of White Lilies,’ revolves around an American soldier who is stationed in a Catholic village near the U Minh forest. The soldier laments being stuck in Vietnam until he eventually befriends a beautiful school teacher and begins spending time with her, as well as the other people in the village.
Finally, the titular story, ‘A Mother’s Tale,’ is about a mother who travels from the U.S. to Vietnam years after the war ends in order to find the son that she lost.
Every story in this collection is better than the last! Ha’s writing is atmospheric, magical and very touching. He writes so intimately about the food and culture of Vietnam that, when reading the book, I felt like I was really there.
Each story flowed into the next just like the river of White Lilies from the book, and each one was unforgettable. If you love well written short stories, trust me, you will love this book.
About the Author
Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, and Mrs. Rossi’s Dream. He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, Many Voices Project, Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and The University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize. He is the recipient of the Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, the Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction, and the Orison Anthology Award for Fiction. Mrs. Rossi’s Dream, was named Best New Book by Booklist and a 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Silver Winner and Bronze Winner. A Mother’s Tale & Other Stories has already won the C&R Press Fiction Prize.
This giveaway is for 3 print copies, 1 per winner, U.S. only and ends on November 24, 2021, 12 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.
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Praise for Mother’s Tale and Other Stories
“. . . a highly recommended literary work for those who seek fictional pieces embedded with the spirit and history of the Vietnam War and the nation. . . . This juxtaposition of pain and beauty runs through every story and makes them impossible to put down and hard to forget. . . . Literary collections strong in Asian cultural representation should consider A Mother’s Tale & Other Stories a key acquisition.—Midwest Book Review
“The eleven linked short stories of this collection revisit the complexities of the controversial Vietnam War. . . . The author navigates this amalgam of the living, the dead, and those caught in a hard limbo between the two extremes with grace and a superb sense of dramatic rhythm. . . . This compelling collection could only be imagined and written from the perspective of a native intimately familiar with his national culture and history, making this a must-read for anyone interested in the French Indochina and Vietnam conflicts.”—The US Review of Books
“It is often the second generation, the children of immigrants and refugees, who add their stories to enrich and expand the American literary canon. The best of them also add to and expand the human canon—a feat Khanh Ha accomplishes with grace and power in this collection.”—Wayne Karlin, winner of the Juniper Prize in Fiction
“In these eleven poetic tales, Khanh Ha individualizes the Vietnam War and makes it hauntingly real. . . . Told with Heming- way-esque simplicity, these stories assail us like ghosts and linger way beyond their initial reading.”—James Hanna, author of The Siege and Call Me Pomeroy.