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FVH book club – “Dumb Luck” by Vu Trong Phung
January 17, 2019 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
FVH Bookclub members
For January the book we will be discussing is:
Dumb Luck by Vu Trong Phung
Dumb Luck, by the brilliant, controversial, and influential Vietnamese writer Vu Trong Phung, is a bitter satire of the rage for modernization in Vietnam during the late-colonial era. First published in Hanoi in 1936, it follows the absurd and unexpected rise within colonial society of a street-smart vagabond named Red-haired Xuân. As it charts Xuân’s fantastic social ascent, the novel provides a panoramic view of late-colonial urban social order-from the filthy sidewalks of Hanoi’s old commercial quarter to the gaudy mansions of the emergent Francophile northern upper classes. A major theme of the work is the transformation of traditional Vietnamese class and gender relations triggered by the growth of colonial capitalism.
Praise / Awards
“. . . it is [the] clash between tradition and modernity that Phung brings to light with amusingly biting satire. . . . After all, modern-day Vietnam, where police and privileged classes are still figures of fun, gives rise to the same tension between tradition and modernity. That makes Phung an important Vietnamese voice, and one well worth reading today.” Sheridan Prasso, Los Angeles Times, January 12, 2003
“Dumb Luck and Zinoman’s thorough, scholarly, eye-opening introduction to it ought to earn Phung a secure niche in the academic world lit canon for some time to come.” MultiCultural Review
“. . . captures the humor of the original expressively through present-day American English. The editor’s introduction summarizes the author’s personal and professional background and links So Do to issues of historicism, cosmopolitanism, and language as a tool for power. . . . [T]he book is an amusing read both in Vietnamese and English, and worthwhile for its unique and comical look at Hanoi in social transition.” James Banerian, World Literature Today
Named one of the best books of fiction in 2003 by the Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review
Meeting venue: Loading T cafe’ 2nd Floor, no. 8 Chan Can street, Hang Trong street, Hoan Kiem
To RSVP attendance –Piu and Maria