Author of Mrs. Rossi’s Dream, a 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Silver and Bronze Winner (War & Military Adult Fiction); and A Mother’s Tale & Other Stories, a Foreword Reviews INDIES Bronze Winner
From Vietnam to America, this story collection, jewel-like, evocative and layered, brings to the readers a unique sense of love, passions and the tragedy of rape, all together contrasting a darker theme of perils. The titular story captures a simple love story that transcends cultural barriers. The opening story “A Woman-Child” brings the shy eroticism of adolescence set against a backdrop of the seaside with its ever present ecological beauty. A youthful love affair between an older American man and a much younger Vietnamese girl has its poignant brevity in “All the Pretty Little Horses.” In “The Yin-Yang Market” magical realism and the beauty of innocence abounds in deep dark places, teeming with life and danger. “A Mute Girl’s Yarn” tells a magical coming-of-age story like sketches in a child’s fairy book.
Bringing together the damned, the unfit, the brave who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate, their desire to survive never dying, it is a great journey to inhabit this world where redemption of human goodness arises out of violence and beauty to become part of its essential mercy.
Having read one of Khanh Ha’s books before, I knew his writing style is going to leave an impact on me, at least for a few days, with the melancholic plots and stories with very real and relatable characters. This book and its short stories are no different too. I particularly enjoy Khanh’s stories, as they depict struggles the Vietnamese face, from the time of war and its impact post-war. The everyday lives of people are filled with sadness, contentment, and a mixture of feelings that leave you feeling sad.
I like how each story, like the one in The Woman-Child, reflects the life of a young girl, and how being born into a poor family, she yearns to go to school, and also perceives Americans to be rich in general. Overall, I loved reading these stories and I would highly recommend it if you would love to explore different cultures and the impact wars have on people.