Three violent deaths occur within days among a group of young nouveaux-riche beach-goers of Hanoi--but neither the victims nor the circumstances are as they seem. Is fate responsible? Or a woman of extreme beauty and mystery?
When Danang Publishing House risked bringing out Ho Anh Thai's controversial novel Cõi nguói rung chuông tân thé (The Apocalypse Bell Tolls in the Human World) in 2002 after numerous others had refused it, Vietnam was a nation still struggling to find its identity decades after being torn apart by war. Ho Anh Thai's previous stories and novels had already seized the imagination of a young postwar generation. He had become a literary sensation even as a teenager, his fresh, fluid, luminous style capturing the essence of their modern Vietnam. The book was a sensation in its author's home country: to date it has sold more than 50,000 copies in ten printings and has been received enthusiastically by both public and critics as a work of creativity and disturbing truth.
Now, as Apocalypse Hotel, Ho Anh Thai's dark fable draws English-language readers into the divided society of 1990s Vietnam, to an underground economy in which anything may be bought and sold, youth seek speed, sex, and thrills, and past crimes still haunt the pure and the guilty alike. In this riveting, fast-paced cautionary tale, citizens of all ages and situations must come to grips with the sordid, unforeseen consequences of a war once meant to liberate them.
Praise for Ho Anh Thai's Behind the Red Mist (Curbstone Press, 1998)
"One of the most accomplished writers of Vietnam's postwar generation." --W. D. Ehrhart
"Reading this important writer, we can understand the consequences of the history we've been through together." --Maxine Hong Kingston
"Considered the most important writer of Vietnam's postwar generation, Ho Anh Thai brings an intimate knowledge of the Vietnam War into perspective with a style that is at once whimsical and sharp-sighted." --Susan Swartwout
Praise for Ho Anh Thai's The Women on the Island (University of Washington Press, 2001)
"Ho Anh Thai's novel paints a beautiful and moving picture of postwar Vietnam. His hand on heavy subjects is delicate enough to be deceptively simple." --ForeWord Reviews
Born in Hanoi in 1960, Ho Anh Thai is one of the most prolific writers in Vietnam. He has published more than twenty novels and short story collections, which have been translated into ten languages.
Wayne Karlin, professor of languages and literature at the College of Southern Maryland, has written ten novels and nonfiction books, and edited numerous works about Vietnam.