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Download The Leper Colony epub

by Khanh Ha

In a leper colony, the damned are quarantined; the damned are banished, untouchable, to dim crouching hutsforever. This is where Phong Nguyen, a Vietnamese emigrant, finds himself in the end of his journey to the Promised LandAmerica. His damnation begins with an angel. She comes like some angelic being who has descended to earth to confirm his belief: If you wait long enough, your lover will one day walk out of your dream. Her name is Lan. Orchid in English. She is not Phong's friend or lover, and yet, beyond his control, he becomes inextricably involved with her story, and learns from this orchid what it means to be human when the time comes for him to face his own damnation.
Download The Leper Colony epub
ISBN: 0738818321
ISBN13: 978-0738818320
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Contemporary
Author: Khanh Ha
Language: English
Publisher: Xlibris Corp; 1 edition (April 24, 2000)
Pages: 388 pages
ePUB size: 1452 kb
FB2 size: 1509 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 399
Other Formats: txt docx mobi mbr

THE LEPER COLONY by Khanh Ha begins with a unique juxtaposition of a Vietnamese pedicab in the backyard of an American home, and juxtaposition serves as structure for the entire novel. Vietnam was a juxtaposition of those of the North and those of the South. Vietnam and America also serve as a juxtaposition, as do the main characters, Hoàng Vinh and his nephew Phong who are as divided the country they both love. Yet throughout the novel runs a unity of theme and purpose that draws the reader into its remarkable depths.
Robert Fitch, the director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs at the State Department, has two deputy assistant secretaries: Hoàng Vinh -- Phong's uncle -- and Gene Jensen, Fitch's right-hand man. With Fitch about to retire, both Vinh and Jensen want the position of director, and both will do anything to get what they want. But Fitch tries to block Vinh's nomination by trying to lobby for Jensen on the Hill. Then the congressional committee attacks Vinh. Finally, a vociferous Vietnamese small-time publisher threatens to expose Vinh's identity in his upcoming newsletter. But the publisher is found murdered.
Phong finds himself trapped between the man who threatens to unmask his uncle as communist, and his loyalty to family. His uncle brought him into the United States and saved his father's life. Certainly his uncle has connections to the State Department, but Phong doubts it would have carried any clout with the new communist government. Phong thought he knew his uncle's past, but does he really?
Woven amidst the political struggle and murder is also a philosophical thread, acknowledging that few in the State Department could speak Vietnamese, or knew anything about Vietnamese culture. Those leading Americans into war "thought they didn't need that kind of intelligence to fight the communists in such a tiny place. The Dean Rusks, the Robert McNamaras." Likewise, Vietnamese refugees are faced with a similar dilemma, not knowing anything about American history and culture -- "the two prerequisites for any foreigner to live here." Americans approached the war with a fast food mentality, expecting to win in six months. They didn't understand that they needed patience; patience to understand the people, their culture, their history, their beliefs, their roots.
Ha writes a with crispness, yet his prose flows, for example, capturing the impossibility of comprehending a life without war in his poetic description: "In this country, you don't see the gunships, the Skyraiders roaring every time you look up the sky. At night you don't hear the cannon booming in the distance, an AK-47 crackling down the street. The night flows into morning without curfew." Further, through Jensen and Vinh's battle for political position, Ha creates the tapestry of war including the dark threads of tragedy and the brilliant threads of love. The tragedy and the contradiction of the Vietnam war are captured in heart rendering terms of loss, grief and destruction in this extraordinary novel. As a student of English literature, I studied Vietnam war literature extensively, even choosing it for the topic of my thesis. With the many books I have read, this is the most multifaceted, brilliantly intense Vietnam war book I have read to date. I very highly recommend it.
I found The Leper Colony to be a book for the people, the most critical audience. The characters exude life and I became immersed in their lives. This is a book that finally tells about the Vietnam War through the eyes of a native. I cried as I felt the emotional heartache and read of the horrors. This book should be read by everybody. It should be in schools and in every military acadamy as well as in the home of people like you and me. I couldn't put the book down, so immersed was I in this wonderfully written compassionate emotionally charged book. This is a rare read, and a credit to a man who believes in the truth. It is rare I find a novel which not only makes me want to read more but also makes me want to learn more!