By Lựu Lê
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Extra resources for A time far past
He's still too young to lose solidarity with his wife. He's still a child and yet he dares to play husband by roughing her up. If the girl's family sues, we lose everything. You and I will have to cover our faces with areca sheaths in shame. Faced with this situation, what do you, a revolutionary cadre, propose to do? You must clearly explain the Party position and the government policies to your parents. " <><><><><><><><><><><><> Due to his feelings for his younger brother and his dislike of his father's old-fashioned, Confucian attitudes, Tinh had panicked earlier when he'd heard about his father's reaction to Sai's behavior.
Wherever Le Luu went, he was greeted with questions about the characters, about his village, and about himself. Was he Sai? A Time Far Past occupies an important place in contemporary Vietnamese literature. The story it tells is the story of one village, one family, and one man, giving an insight into village life and life in postwar Ha Noi never before provided. That alone should assure its place in history. In addition it broke with the heroic tradition of Vietnamese literature about the war and courageously opened new ground for other writers to follow.
Rather than dwelling on tactics and firepower, Le Luu's text offers descriptions of daily routines in village huts and urban apartment buildings, of marriage preparations and the politics of grieving at a funeral, of maternity wards and divorce courts. It shows people trying to get promoted, manipulations in the sexual marketplace, parents loving and hurting their children, spouses quarreling over dirty dishes. In short, this is a novel about how the Vietnamese lived and not about how they fought in the era of the American War.