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The Tapestries – Kien Nguyen



Posted May 9, 2016 by

The Tapestries – Kien Nguyen – 2003

Posted by guillermo maynez on 22/7/2014, 13:21:20

Following several of your recommendations on books about Vietnam / Cambodia / Laos, I have recently read “The Tapestries”, by Kien Nguyen. Even though it is by no means a literary masterpiece, I enjoyed it. I would only recommend it to someone planning a visit to Vietnam, and specifically the ancient capital, Hue, supposed to be a very pretty town with the Purple Forbidden City surrounded by canals, temples, etc.

The story is set in early XXth Century and is based on the memories of the author’s grandfather, filled in the gaps by a fervent imagination. It is never boring, as it is filled with action, violence, romance, improbable coincidences, more action and violence and then some action and violence. It is very romantic in every sense of the word.

The downsize is that characters are shallowly developed and are more caricatures (without Dickens’s genius at characterization and literary depth). In fact, I tended to imagine the action performed by cartoons. Nevertheless, it is very valuable for all the information it gives on early century Vietnamese society and history, and the author is really good at giving a sense of atmosphere and place. The ending is corny as hell, but somehow I read it with a smile on my face and not a frown: “Can you see the last rose of autumn? – No, my darling, it is the first rose of spring…”

Judge for yourselves.

But I’m glad I read it.


Tapestries    Unwanted

ReadLit Team


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