By Lựu Lê
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Through the thick fog nothing could be seen from about fifty yards beyond the bamboo hedge, but the censure of imagined voices pursued him. He ran over the newly plowed field and over the broken clay, hard and glistening. Now and again, he tripped and fell, his face hitting the hard edges of clay that seemed as solid as stones. Once, his fall hurt so much that he swore he would not get up again. He let his tears pour out on a lump of sod, melting it and gluing it to his face. But he clambered up and ran again, clenching his teeth against further falls.
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. Right away, Tinh had rushed out to search for Sai.
This version was then passed on to Debra Spark, a novelist and editor with no background in the text or history, for more general editing and comment. From her annotated draft a final version of the manuscript was prepared. We realize that this method is fraught with hazards, but given the lack of truly experienced literary translators in either Viet Nam or this country one often unnoted consequence of the postwar embargo this seemed the best way to proceed if the novel was to see the light of day.