The Swallows Uncaged, A Narrative in Eight Panels was inspired by the turbulent past of Vietnam. The history books I read were filled with dates of battles and feats of (allegedly) great men, but did not tell me how ordinary people actually lived. I found myself driven to imagining them, particularly the women.
In this book you will meet, among others:
* a young daughter of a hardscrabble family who, eager to have her teeth stained black, stands up to her imperious grandmother and pays the price;
* a silk maker who, when her husband goes away, succumbs to the sweet talk of a wily servant, and almost gets away with it;
* a teenage poet who in the walled-in concubine compound of the Emperor of Vietnam vies with 100 other women for the summons to the Imperial bed while her poetic gifts slip away;
* a modern career woman who weighs the personal and family cost of marrying a foreigner for his money.
Truyện Ngắn Nữ Canada (Short Stories by Canadian Women Writers); Nhà Xuất Bản Phụ Nữ (Women’s Publishing House), Hanoi, 2011. An anthology of 17 short stories by 15 Canadian virtuosos. I selected the stories, negotiated translation and publishing rights, liaised with the authors to clarify enigmatic idioms and metaphors, and wrote a 5-page overview of Canadian literature since 1867.
“On a Viet Mission” – excerpt from a draft of Imagining Vietnam, in Harvard Summer Review, 2010.
“A History of Hanoi in Three Scenes,” and “The Birth, Life and Death of the Bao An Pagoda,” in Strange Roots, Views of Hanoi, (Anthology of the Hanoi Writers’ Collective), Thế Giới Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011.
Two done articles – book reviews, art reviews, and feature stories – published between 2006 and 2011 in The Guide (a monthly supplement to Vietnam Economic Times), Vietnam Heritage, and Timeout.