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Blood and Soap

Blood and Soap

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Written by Linh DinhAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Linh Dinh

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 144 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • On Sale: May 4, 2004
  • Price: $16.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-58322-642-1 (1-58322-642-7)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

Blood and Soap is a breakthrough collection of modern-day fables from a wildly inventive American writer whose fiction has been called “terse and edgy” (Booklist) and “vividly imagined” (Kirkus Reviews). Dinh’s gift is for constructing, in the manner of Italo Calvino, simple narratives that quickly frame larger questions; with a poet’s timing, the author builds his stories to the one or few climactic sentences that brand them with unforgettable meaning. In one tale, a Vietnamese boy’s self-guided, haphazard study of English gives way to a meditation on the universality of language: “Everything seems chaotic at first, but nothing is chaotic. One can read anything: ants crawling on the ground; pimples on a face; trees in a forest.” In another story, a man opens a newspaper and sees the photograph of a man he may have murdered, which he impulsively clips, only to feel that in doing so he unwittingly has sealed his crime: “As soon as I finished, I realized what I had done: by cutting my father’s likeness out of the newspaper, I had removed him from the world.” The collection crescendos in displays of raw creative power, as in “Eight Plots,” a rapid-fire of three- and four-sentence summaries, and the brilliant, impressionistic “!”

Blood and Soap is an arresting collection from one of a small number of writers on the vanguard of American fiction.

“Dinh’s stories, pared to parable, are enough to nourish any reader’s mind.” — The Village Voice, “Our 27 Favorite Books of the Year”

“The whole book acts as a reminder of the differences between cultures without bluntly pointing it out to the reader. In doing this, it communicates the difficulty of learning a new language and the even bigger hardship of figuring out all the subtleties of action that remain unspoken.” — Gena Anderson, Bookslut