Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale
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Description

Product Description

Paradise of the Blind is an exquisite portrait of three Vietnamese women struggling to survive in a society where subservience to men is expected and Communist corruption crushes every dream. Through the eyes of Hang, a young woman in her twenties who has grown up amidst the slums and intermittent beauty of Hanoi, we come to know the tragedy of her family as land reform rips apart their village. When her uncle Chinh‘s political loyalties replace family devotion, Hang is torn between her mother‘s appalling self–sacrifice and the bitterness of her aunt who can avenge but not forgive. Only by freeing herself from the past will Hang be able to find dignity –– and a future.

About the Author

Duong Thu Huong is one of Vietnam''s most popular writers. She was born in 1947, and at twenty volunteered to lead a Communist Youth Brigade sent to the front during the Vietnam War. During Chinas''s 1979 attack on Vietnam, she also became the first woman combatant present on the front lines to chronicle the conflict. A vocal advocate of human rights and democratic political reform, Duong Thu Huong was expelled from the Vietnamese Communist party in 1989 and was imprisoned without trial in 1991 for her political beliefs. Paradise of the Blind is her fourth novel and her fourth novel to be effectively banned by the Vietnamese government. She is also the author of Novel Without a Name, which was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Duong Thu Huong is not allowed to leave Vietnam. She lives and writes in Hanoi.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
115 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Dan Cragg
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Chess Game With Heaven
Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2010
Just the very title of this book must have troubled the Hanoi politburo hacks but the way PARADISE OF THE BLIND ends frightened them so profoundly they banned it and put its author in jail. Reading Duong Thu Huong''s lyrical novel about life in post-war Vietnam I... See more
Just the very title of this book must have troubled the Hanoi politburo hacks but the way PARADISE OF THE BLIND ends frightened them so profoundly they banned it and put its author in jail.

Reading Duong Thu Huong''s lyrical novel about life in post-war Vietnam I am reminded of a line from Nguyen Du''s classic narrative poem, THE TALE OF KIEU, particularly Kieu''s song, "Cruel Fate," which mourns "all women in soul-rending strains." I am also reminded of the resiliency of Vietnamese women, of all women in general, especially those who come from Confucian societies. Well, Duong has taken a leaf from the great poet with PARADISE OF THE BLIND.

Although PARADISE is translated into colloquial modern English (kudos to Phan Huy Duong and Nina McPherson for this), a radical departure from the classic six-eight verse of Nguyen Du, still, the descriptive power of Duong''s prose comes through with the "indestructible purity of a countryside at peace" even when she''s describing "purple flowers radiant in the middle of the filth...the purest balm and the most overpowering poison of my existence." The metaphor of flowers for people, the yin and yang, the balance of life, conjures a powerful image that is often found in Vietnamese literature and Hang, Duong''s heroine and the narrator of this tale, is one of the most compelling of those "flowers." We follow her through this story as she tries to find the balance of her own life. Note that often in Vietnamese literature that balance is only found at great cost to the seeker which Duong reflects on in Chapter Eight, when she writes, "Separation, this ancient pain, perhaps the greatest of all human sadnesses."

Food is another metaphor Duong uses skillfully. Food is the element that connects all the characters in this story, from the middle-aged Russian man on a train to Moscow who gives Hang a piece of fruit, to elaborate banquets hosted by Aunt Tam, Hang''s patron and mentor, to the simple fare of Hang''s poor, widowed mother.

And over all hangs the oppressive pall of socialist bureaucracy. To us Duong''s criticisms sound much less vitriolic than our own so we may be surprised they landed her in jail. But remember, communists have little sense of humor. Remember the "Beggar''s Opera," that line that goes, "When you censure the age be cautious and sage lest the courtiers offended should be. If you mention vice or bribe, tis so pat to all the tribe, each cries `That was leveled at me!''" Well, look for Aunt Tam''s putdown of her village vice president in Chapter Nine, indisputably an all-time classic. And don''t be surprised to find out that Vietnamese people can be very "earthy" when the occasion calls for it.

The reader should bear in mind that Confucianism, with its emphasis on obedience to hierarchy, is much more compatible with Communism than the Western idea of democracy that emphasizes individual choice and action. To us it may not seem an epiphany when Hang decides, against her aunt''s dying wish, to sell their home with its altar to their ancestors, and hit out on her own. But by that decision to leave the past where it is Hang not only rebels against the Confucian system but the Communist system as well. No wonder Hanoi doesn''t want ideas like this to spread among the Vietnamese people!
5 people found this helpful
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Sylviastel
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brilliant but Yet Flawed! Still Beautiful Translation and Writing! Must be on Nobel Short List!
Reviewed in the United States on June 11, 2012
Duong Thu Huong should be on everybody''s best writers'' list. She is a brilliant Vietnamese writer who can''t even be able to read in her own country. Sadly, her novels and works are forbidden to be read by the people she writes about. If Vietnamese were able to read her... See more
Duong Thu Huong should be on everybody''s best writers'' list. She is a brilliant Vietnamese writer who can''t even be able to read in her own country. Sadly, her novels and works are forbidden to be read by the people she writes about. If Vietnamese were able to read her books freely in their own country, they would be able to appreciate her genius, her love of country and of humanity as well.

The author writes about Hang who gets a letter about her sick Uncle in Moscow in the then Soviet Union. She takes the long journey by train from Vietnam to Moscow. During her journey, she recounts painful family history, divisions, grudges, and bitterness. Much like Vietnam itself, the author subtly analyzes and writes about her country along with a family''s intense battle of the soul.

Huong''s Vietnam is brought to life in one family''s struggle to survive and thrive in Communist Vietnam. While Huong tries not to be political or biased, her writing is to be appreciated, revered, and celebrated especially because she is still in Hanoi, Vietnam and forbidden to travel abroad. If she won the Nobel Prize in Literature, it is doubtful that she wouldn''t be there to accept the honor in Stockholm, Sweden.

Huong would be a worthy recipient since her novels aren''t political nor biased but beautifully written like poetry. Huong can make magic with words in her writing. She captivates you with images that awaken you entire senses. Huong is one of then best writers alive about anything. When you read about Huong''s Vietnam, you are transformed and transfixed on a world that isn''t foreign to you but you become a shadow in the novel''s mist like a visitor. You just can''t help but loving Huong''s writing.

I deducted one star because I felt that her novel ended strangely. I still think it''s one of the best novels ever read but I believe that the author left out some mystery regarding Hang''s relationship with her uncle once in Moscow.
3 people found this helpful
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Crazy Fox
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fragrant Herbs and Bitter Truths
Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2006
This is a fine novel in many ways, at once probing the fissures and scars of life in modern Vietnam in an uncompromising manner while telling a tragic tale of family conflict and broken dreams. The descriptions of everyday life are rich and detailed in ways that move the... See more
This is a fine novel in many ways, at once probing the fissures and scars of life in modern Vietnam in an uncompromising manner while telling a tragic tale of family conflict and broken dreams. The descriptions of everyday life are rich and detailed in ways that move the story along, and the author has framed the story well by presenting much of it as flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks, which enables her to compellingly uncover the complex snarl of events and episodes entangled with Vietnam''s troubled history as all of this affects the present.

In terms of pages this is a novel of modest length, but so much is going on. There is a definite political edge to it, a sharp critique of the absurdities, deprivations, and hypocrisies of life under a Communist regime by a former true believer. But that''s only the beginning. The polarization of urban and rural life is also a major theme, as is the complicated links and disjunctures between generations. Even geopolitics as it affects individuals comes into play, and all of this in a way that seems perfectly natural in this well-told tale.

Still, the characters, while generally convincing, are sometimes just short of three-dimensional. Hang''s Uncle Chinh is always despicable, her Aunt Tam is always strong and vengeful, and so on. Not quite caricatures, but a bit too close nevertheless. And while the role of food is important in this novel in many interesting ways, signifying bounty and comfort but also manipulation and power, still sometimes the grocery list gets a bit long. All of which just means that the novel is excellent but not perfect. The translators have also provided an introduction, a glossary, and a note on the author that helpfully and unobtrusively give the reader the right amount of context to appreciate this fine work.
8 people found this helpful
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Phyllis Safman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The book is well written
Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2018
The story is compelling as is its description of Vietnam and the food which is so important in the culture. The political challenges are explained very well and are gripping.
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The King Of all
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Three Stars
Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2017
For a school project. Weird book. Interesting look into a different world.
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Wendy Baldinger
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Paradise of the Blind: A Novel
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2013
A tragic story of being torn between two families. The tension between the family of her mother and the family of her father, was very compelling. This narrative felt so real that at times I thought I was reading a memoir. There could have been a bit more background to... See more
A tragic story of being torn between two families. The tension between the family of her mother and the family of her father, was very compelling. This narrative felt so real that at times I thought I was reading a memoir. There could have been a bit more background to explain how the main character ended up working in Russia and how her uncle fell from grace. Interesting insight into the Viet Nam culture of the 1980''s.
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William G. von Glahn
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The North Viet Namese people''s experience with communism and war.
Reviewed in the United States on April 14, 2014
This is a wonderful book which describes the life of ordinary Vietnamese during the postwar years. It should be read in combination with her book on the war, Novel Without a Name. The author is very popular in her own country, but not with the government which banned the... See more
This is a wonderful book which describes the life of ordinary Vietnamese during the postwar years. It should be read in combination with her book on the war, Novel Without a Name. The author is very popular in her own country, but not with the government which banned the books and imprisoned the author. These books were fascinating to me - a Viet Nam Veteran. They are not easy reads, but they are real.
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Marina
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Bought for Class and pleasantly surprised
Reviewed in the United States on May 30, 2016
I ordered this book because it was one needed for a class. I was surprised though when I like the book as I don''t usually waver from my YA romance books so it was nice to read something new. At times though I was confused as to when this was happening as we kept being... See more
I ordered this book because it was one needed for a class. I was surprised though when I like the book as I don''t usually waver from my YA romance books so it was nice to read something new. At times though I was confused as to when this was happening as we kept being pulled from the past only to be still in her past just steadily closer.Throughout the book you start to feel for the main character and if you''re like me you will wonder (sort of SPOILERS) why her uncle is such a jerk and treats her and her mother like they are inconvenient.
To be honest I didn''t actually finish the book but I do plan to(eventually). There was nothing wrong with the book, I only stopped because I completed the class assignments for this book and then had to start a new book.
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Top reviews from other countries

LadyG'Diver
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2017
Beautiful novel which has been well translated. Very evocative of scenery and food and the characters come to life wonderfully.
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Another Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Paradise of the Bline - Duong Thu Huong
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2009
A book that''s given me a lot of pleasure, as well as a view of Vietnam that''s different from the 60''s news, or the various American movies that have given the view from the west. Duong Thu Huong was a lucky find for me and I''d never have imagined that I could have read a...See more
A book that''s given me a lot of pleasure, as well as a view of Vietnam that''s different from the 60''s news, or the various American movies that have given the view from the west. Duong Thu Huong was a lucky find for me and I''d never have imagined that I could have read a book by a woman about a girl growing up and discovering herself and her reality so fascinating. An excellent authour who makes me wish I had a facility with languages so that I didn''t have to rely on the translation.
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Alissa Laloutre
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
History alive
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 22, 2014
Recommended by a niece who went to the place ; very powerful but slow reading...
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David Young
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
sad and insightful
Reviewed in Canada on June 14, 2016
Essential reading to anyone who wants to understand the north Viet Nam experience. Well written, sad and insightful.
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Cliente de Amazon
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I recommend this book for those who want to know about Vietnam history from vietnamese perspective
Reviewed in Mexico on December 21, 2016
I like this book because it narrates not well known details of the daily life of the people from Vietnam. And it does not focus in the North American-Vietnam war.
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Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

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Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

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Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

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Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

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Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale

Paradise of discount the lowest Blind: A Novel sale