Other Moons: Vietnamese Short Stories of the American War and Its Aftermath features 20 short stories by 20 authors. Even though they are well known and acclaimed in Vietnam – some of them have ever been turned into movies – it is the first time that they are available in English translation. The collection start with a brief introduction which provides a historical background and literary context. The selected texts describe the times of the war and the period just after when the protagonists try to cope with traumatic experiences and socio-economic difficulties.
This collection features a variety of themes, shots, styles – from ghost stories to ultra-realistic tales about the lives of the poorest. The authors are mainly veterans or those born just after the war; the generations can be easily distinguished, showing in a fascinating way how the passage of time affects the perception of history. Some of the older stories glorify the war, in a moralizing and propagandist tone, while the newer ones tend to criticize it, taking into account the enormity of the destruction and human tragedy it brought on.
You will read a tale of a man seeking help for a handicapped daughter (whose mother had contact with agent orange during her pregnancy); a story of parents who, even after many years, are still mourning their children; stories about partisans, love stories, and even the short story “An American Service Hamlet”, kind towards Americans and the only one which shows them as victims of the war. It is a difficult read, but an extremely important one.