peteg's blog

Hồ Aanh Thái: The Legend of the Phoenix and other stories from Vietnam

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I scraped this strange short-story collection from the ANU library a while ago, along with Banerian's and a couple of others. It was published by the National Book Trust, India in 1995, as the anthologist has ties to that country.

Unfortunately there is nothing particularly good in this collection that I hadn't read before — Nguyễn Huy Thiệp's The General Retires is probably Lockhart's translation but is not identified as such, and jangles in the context of the other much poorer translations, as does the excerpt from Dương Thu Hương's Novel Without a Name. It is very post-war victor-oriented, and as such there's plenty of enemy puppetry here.

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Early-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Gordons Bay. The Manly Hydraulics Lab makes the unbelievable claim that it is 21 degrees in the water, warmer in than out, and sort-of comfortable in a wife beater, spring suit and gloves. It started to rain just as we got there and just as we left; in between we got some fantastic sunshine, and the water was clear in any case. Saw a few groper including a large but not fully mature blue one.

Tillsammans (Together)

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Moodysson's best effort, I reckon; just as excruciatingly funny the second time around. He did most of the work in choosing the setting of a hippie commune in suburban Stockholm in 1975, as it seems to have pretty much written itself. The early scene in the kitchen is the best I've seen him do.

He seems to have gone quiet since he got into too-hard-to-watch territory with Lilya 4-ever and A Hole in My Heart in the late 2000s.

Fight Club

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It's been five years and I still remember just about the entire thing. Still rated #14 in IMDB's top-250, good to see.