Love Beneath the Napalm (Notre Dame Review Book Prize) (Paperback)
University of Notre Dame Press, 9780268040345, 200pp.
Publication Date: August 25, 2013
Love beneath the Napalm is James D. Redwood's collection of deeply affecting stories about the enduring effects of colonialism and the Vietnamese War over the course of a century on the Vietnamese and the American and French foreigners who became inextricably connected with their fate. These finely etched, powerful tales span a wide array of settings, from the former imperial capital of Hue at the end of the Nguyen Dynasty, to Hanoi after the American pullout from Vietnam, the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979, contemporary San Francisco, and Schenectady, New York.
Redwood reveals the inner lives of the Vietnamese characters and also shows how others appear through their eyes. Some of the images and characters in Love beneath the Napalm--the look that Mr. Tu's burned and scarred face always inflicts on strangers in the title story; attorney and American Vietnam War-veteran Carlton Griswold's complicated relationship with Mary Thuy in "The Summer Associate"; Phan Van Toan's grief and desire, caught between two worlds in "The Stamp Collector"--provide a haunting, vivid portrayal of lives uprooted by conflict. Throughout, readers will find moments that cut to the quick, exposing human resilience, sorrow, joy, and the traumatic impact of war on all those who are swept up in it.