cover image Twilight Territory

Twilight Territory

Andrew X. Pham. Norton, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-324-06484-8

Vietnam during WWII and immediately after provides the backdrop for this transportive novel of love and resistance from Pham (Catfish and Mandala). In 1942, Tuyet is a divorced single mother living with her aunt and cousin in the small fishing village of Phan Thiet. There, she meets Maj. Yamazaki Takeshi, who is part of the Japanese occupation. Despite their differences, an unlikely friendship springs up between the two and eventually blossoms into love, marriage, and family. When the war is over, Takeshi decides to join the Viet Minh resistance against the French, who have retaken the country. Tuyet goes into hiding with her aunt and children as Takeshi’s cadre embarks on bloody raids against the colonial forces. As the war continues, both sides commit acts of savagery, with the lives of Tuyet and her family always in the balance. Combining the sensuality of Marguerite Duras with the revolutionary politics of Andre Malraux, Pham describes the ordeals faced by Tuyet and Takeshi in the most viscerally harrowing of terms, creating two memorable characters whose relationship is equal parts romantic and sacrificial. With captivating force, Pham brings to life a lesser-known aspect of the tragic history of Vietnam. (Jan.)