Ho Anh Thai, forfatter

Opdateret 28. august 2005- English text

Besøg af forfatteren Ho Anh Thai

I forbindelse med Image af Asia besøger forfatteren Ho Anh Thai både København og Århus.

Ho Anh Thai er født 1960 i Hanoi, M.A. i Internationale Studier og Ph.d. i Orientalsk Kultur, diplomat, redaktør af det vietnamesiske udenrigsministeriums "International Affairs Review", generalsekretær for Hanoi Writers' Association. Thai var ansat ved Vietnams ambassader i Indien og Iran i begyndelsen af 1990erne.
I de sidste fem år har Thai deltaget i konferencer, festivaler mv. i Nordamerika, Australien og Sverige i sin egenskab af skønlitterær forfatter. Af hans mere end 11 bøger findes følgende oversat: Behind the Red Mist (noveller) The Women on the Island (roman, også på fransk), samt på fransk Aventures en Inde. Thai har desuden redigeret Love after War: Anthology of Vietnamese Contemporary Short Stories og Legend of the Phoenix and other Stories from Vietnam. Han er tildelt flere litteraturpriser i Vietnam; den seneste (i 2001) afslog han dog at modtage.
Ho Anh Thai blev 6 år gammel evakueret fra Hanoi på grund af USA's bombardementer, og boede i flygtningeområder på landet fra 1966 til 1973. Han blev student i 1977, og studerede derefter på College of Diplomacy, og tog B.A. i 1983. Han blev indkaldt som soldat til Folkehæren og gjorde tjeneste i 47. bataljon indtil 1987, og efter det blev han ansat i Udenrigsministeriet. Han definerer sig selv som hovedsagelig forfatter af skønlitteratur: han har fået udgivet elleve romaner og novellesamlinger, og hans værker er bragt af de mest berømte magasiner og aviser i Vietnam. Han blev gift med Nguyen Bich Lan, lærer på Foreign Trade University, i 1996, og har en søn.
Ho Anh Thai fik udgivet sin første novelle mens han stadig gik i gymnasiet. Da redaktørerne accepterede hans novelle vidste de ikke at han kun var 17 år. Under sin karriere som diplomat , har han lært at tale engelsk, studeret i Australien og arbejdet som diplomat i Indien hvor han tog en videregående eksamen i orientalsk kultur i New Delhi i 1991. Fem af historierne i novellesamlingen "Behind the Red Mist" foregår i Indien.

Bag den røde tåge

Den engelske oversættelse af "Behind the Red Mist" indeholder 10 noveller fra en af de vigtigste forfattere fra efter-krigs generationen i Vietnam. Fantasifuld og livlig, ofte overraskende, og viser nutidig vietnamesisk litteratur, kultur og samfund. Ho Anh Thai bringer en intim viden om Vietnam og Indien med en stil som er både snurrig og skarp. Vi møder karakterer som manden der bærer rundt på sin mors knogler i en rygsæk, og manden der forvandles til en ged.
I den lange titelnovelle skriver Ho Anh Thai om krigens myter, en fantasi i hvilken en moderne Hanoi teenager ved et uheld falder tilbage i tiden, til Hanoi under krigen og bombardementerne. Her er han vidne til både sin forældres bejlen og sandheden om krigs-generation, som altid fremhæves som en model på tapperhed og selv-opofrelse for den nye generation. Han opdager at ikke alle historier er sande, men finder også menneskelighed bag myterne og en målrettet styrke i sine forældres generation, som han føler mangler i hans egen generation. "Hans generations var kommet til at forstå prisen for krigen fra erindringer og historier fra ældre folk; de vidste hvor mange der var døde og var kommet til at hade krig i almindelighed og ønskede ikke at tænke på det eller være forbundet med det. Aldrig ville de spontant beslutte at melde sig som soldat og deltage i kamphandlinger.".
Paperback- 230 pages.

Kvinderne på øen

Ho Anh Thai's morsomme, men gribende roman "The Women on the Island" fortæller om en gruppe kvindelige veteraner som efter krigen blev sendt som arbejdsbataljon til den isolerede ø Cat Bac, og hvad der sker da en ung mandlig kunstner kommer i problemer og sendes i eksil til det samme område. En efter en, nat efter nat, kommer kvinderne til hans seng. De håber at blive gravide, og deres seksualitet bliver også et symbol på alle de rodede menneskelige behov som ikke kan kontrolleres eller underordnes den sociale orden. Ho Anh Thai's roman handler om et andet smerteligt emne fra krigen: De mentale og fysiske traumer kvinder led af på grund af de lange adskillelse de oplevede under krigen. Han udforsker effekten af tabet af en generation af unge mænd havde på institutioner som ægteskab og familie i Vietnam. For mange vietnamesiske kvinder, er det at få et barn en vigtig selv-definerende oplevelse. Alligevel truede en barnløs tilværelse for mange kvinder, både på grund af så mange mænd var døde i krigen og på grund af kvindernes egen militærtjeneste, fra hvilken mange blev hjemsendt efter den giftefærdige alder og ofte med alvorlige helbredsproblemer. Under sådanne omstændigheder prøvede mange at blive gravide med hvilken som helst mand de kunne finde, noget der skete i et sådant omfang af Kvindeunionen, en regerings-organisation der fungerer som vagthund og talsmand for kvinders rettigheder i Vietnam, lagde pres på for at få en lov gennemført der lovliggjorde resultatet af sådanne forbindelser.
Paperback - 176 pages

Bestil bøgerne via Books_Vietnamese_Literature

Oversat og redigeret af Wilfred Gluud, bogomtalerne er af Wayne Karlin, se nedenfor.


English

Ho Anh Thai, who was born in 1960, was evacuated from Hanoi when he was a child because of the U.S. bombing, and lived in refo?ge areas in the countryside between 1966 og 1973. He graduated from High school in 1977, and then then studied at the College og Diplomacy, earning his B.A. in 1983. He was drafted into the People's Army and served in the 47th Battalionuntil 1987, after which he entered the service of the Foreign Ministry. Ho Anh Thai is presently an editor for the World affairs Weekly (Tuan Bao Quoc Te), and chairman of the Hanoi Writers Association. He defines himself mainly as a writer of fiction: a contention supported by thew elleven novels and short story collections he has published, and by work published in the most prestigious magazines and newspapers of Vietnam. He was married to Nguyen Bich Lan, a teacher of the Foreign Trade University, in 1996, and has one son.
Ho Anh Thai is the author of 11 works of fiction. Winner of several of Vietnam's most prestigious literary awards, he published his first short story when he was still in high school. When the editors accepted that story, they did not know the author was only 17. During his career as a diplomat, he has learned to speak english and studied in Australia and worked as a diplomat in India and earned an advanced degree in oriental culture in New Delhi in 1991. Five of the stories in "Red Mist" are set in India.

The Women on the Island Ho Anh Thai
Deep in the forested island of Cat Bac, a jungle seethes with the irrepressible force of its own history. Haunted by agonies of temptation and frustration, "the women on the island" are prisoners of the power of the place, the power of the past, the power of desire and constraint. The novel illuminates the plight of a generation of men and women in post-war Vietnam, and issues of family and gender and charts Vietnam's effort to redefine its relationship. Popular writer Ho Anh Thai brings into view the struggle of women who survived their service during the war years. Like male veterans they returned to a society which they had defended, but which in many ways had no place for them.
176 pages (2001) usually dispatched within 7 to 8 days. Behind the Red Mist : Fiction by Ho Anh Thai (Voices From Vietnam,No 2) Ho Anh Thai - Translated by Wayne Karlin and Nguyen Qui Duc--This book gives us a vide range of stories from the most important writer of the post-war generation in Vietnam. Imagining and lively and often startling, these stories offer readers insight into contemporary Vietnamese literature, culture and society that are both valuable and pleasurable. Ho Anh Thai brings an intimate knowledge of the Vietnam War into perspective with a style that is at once whimsical and sharp-sighted. We meet characters such as the man who carries his mother's bones in his knapsack, and in "Behind the Red Mist," a young man is magically transported into his own past during the war bombings.
Paperback- 230 pages (1998) - usually dispatched within 7 to 8 days. Omtale og uddrag fra fra forlaget Love After War: Contemporary Fiction From Vietnam (Voices from Vietnam) Wayne Karlin (Editor), Ho Anh Thai (Editor) Love After War presents the widest range to date of contemporary writers in Vietnam, men and women who have become part of that country's established canon, as well as young and up-coming writers who have come of age in modern Vietnam. Their stories, published in the most widely read literary journals, magazines and newspapers in Vietnam, and many translated here for the first time, reveal the relationships and concerns of everyday life, and the erosion and endurance of life in that country. Contributors to the anthology include Vu Boa, Nguyen Minh Chau, Ngo Thi Kim Cuc, Nguyen Phan Hach, Ma Van Khang, Nguyen Khai, Le Minh Khue, Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, Bao Ninh, Doan Le, Ho Anh Thai, Nguyen Huy Thiep, Nguyen Manh Tuan and others.
Paperback 641 pages (November 1, 2003) - et særdeles godt køb!

Fransk: Les livres de Ho Anh Thai - Interview på vietnamesisk: VnExpress - Ho Anh Thai tu choi nhan giai thuong Hoi Nha van VN - VnExpress - Ho Anh Thai va nhung quan niem ve van chuong


The Other Side of Heaven: Postwar Fiction by Vietnamese and American Writers

By Wayne Karlin; author, most recently, of "Prisoners." He is a, co-editor of "The Other Side of Heaven: Postwar Fiction by Vietnamese and, American Writers." He served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Translater from vietnamese.

Ho Anh Thai, a writer of the postwar generation, also addresses the myths of war imaginatively in "Behind the Red Mist," a fantasy in which a modern Hanoi teenager accidentally falls back into time, towartime Hanoi, where he witnesses both his parents' courtship and thetruth about the war generation always held up as a model of courage and self-sacrifice to his generation. He finds that not all thestories are true, but he also finds the humanity behind the myths and a strength of purpose in his parents' generation that he feels issadly missing in his own. "His generation had come to understand the price of war from the memories and stories of older people; they knew how many had died and they had come to hate war in general and did not want to think about it or be connected to it. Never would they spontaneously decide to enlist and join the fighting."

Thai's novel "The Women on the Island" concerns another painfulpostwar issue: The mental and physical traumas women suffered becauseof the long separations they experienced during the war. He alsoexplores the effect the loss of a generation of young men had on the institution of marriage and family in Vietnam. For many Vietnamese women, having a child is an important self-defining experience. Yet a childless future loomed for many women, both because of the death of so many men in the war and because of the women's own military service, from which they were demobilized past marriageable age and often with severe health problems. In such circumstances, many tried to get pregnant by any man they could find, something that occurred to such a degree that the Women's Union, a government-sponsored organization that serves as a watchdog and advocate for women's rights in Vietnam, lobbied to have a law passed to legitimize the offspring of such unions.

Thai's funny but poignant novel tells of a group of women veterans who were sent after the war as a labor battalion to an isolated island and what occurs when a young male artist gets in trouble and is exiled to the same area. One by one, night after night, the women come to his bed. They hope to become pregnant, though their sexuality also becomes a symbol of all the messy human needs that can't be controlled or subordinated to the social order.


Los Angeles Times September 18, 2001 Tuesday Home Edition

Raising the Cause of the Individual in the New Vietnam

BY MICHAEL HARRIS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Book review: THE WOMEN ON THE ISLAND
By Ho Anh Thai, University of Washington Press, $30, 176 pages

Just as Americans, seized by anger and patriotism, feel their individual concerns being dwarfed by a national emergency, here comes a Vietnamese novel about the opposite process: the reemergence of individual desires in a people who for decades had subordinated everything to the collective struggle. The women, who work in a forestry production brigade on Cat Bac Island, off Haiphong, in the 1980s enlisted in their teens to maintain the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They endured bombing and strafing, hunger and disease. Now they are middle-aged. Like the post-World War II Soviet women in Solzhenitsyn's "Cancer Ward," they are a generation of widows and the never-married. Despite their heroism, society has no place for them, and they've begun, however faintly, to resent this.

They want to bear children and are no longer picky about who the fathers might be. Their interest is aroused by the news that a young, good-looking man has begun working at an experimental sea-turtle breeding station on a nearby island. He is Tuong, a former Hanoi art student implicated in a scam carried out by criminal friends he mistook for fellow bohemians.
Sobered by a jail term and public disgrace, he's grateful when Hoa, manager of a state-run export company that includes the forestry brigade and the breeding station, offers him a job. Before long, though, Tuong hears about the women on Cat Bac, and isolation revives his randiness. Hoa would be the hero of "The Women on the Island" if the novel were a conventional example of socialist realism. He's decent, upright and capable.
But times are changing, and Hoa has discovered that "once you get involved in trading and purchasing ... sometimes you're going to have to be pragmatic, sometimes mischievous, sometimes innocuous. I often have to do things which, deep inside, I don't want to do."
Hoa means to do good for his country by doing well in business, but his mainspring is personal ambition, and he's critical of the old-line bureaucrats and hangers-on who lack this quality. On the other hand, he's willing to hire people, such as Tuong, who have shady backgrounds but display individual drive--a practice that prompts a campaign by jealous rivals to oust Hoa from his post.

Ho Anh Thai was born in 1960 and came of age after the "American War" was over. He clearly sides with the forces of change. He disapproves of Tuong's behavior--the artist becomes a one-man sperm bank for the women on the island--but Tuong himself is treated sympathetically, as are the women. "What do I need with my virginity," a brigade member exclaims at a meeting intended to chastise one of her younger comrades for getting pregnant out of wedlock, "when all it does is bring me loneliness? The collective can help me strengthen my will power, it can console me a bit. But the collective can't bring me private happiness." The conflict at the heart of Thai's novel affects its very structure. Thai switches from one person's story to another's in order to show the phenomenon of reborn individualism from different points of view, yet the individuals, especially Tuong, are more interesting than the social issue.
We wish the novel would develop their stories further rather than dropping them once the author's point is made.
It's in subtler ways that "The Women on the Island" shows Thai's openness to fresh thinking and Western literary influences. The philosophical model in the book is Hoa's Uncle Chinh, who draws his equanimity--the kind of balance Vietnamese society as a whole is urged to seek--not from communism or capitalism but from Zen. And the prelude and coda to the main story use Latin American magical-realist effects to tell of guerrillas on Cat Bac Island fighting French colonialists in the 1880s, stifling individual desires in the name of a war that would last longer than anyone imagined.

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