Reviewer Madeleine Kruhley offers high praise for The Secret of Hoa Sen, written by Nguyen Phan Que Mai and translated by the author and Bruce Weigl, in a recent review by the Los Angeles Review of Books. Kruhley endorses Mai's ability to maintain a sense of confidence among the shadow of situation: "While there are dark, gritty elements at play, Que Mai’s work does not lose itself to despair. She crafts subtleties in sentiment without being overly sentimental." This collection of poems is riddled with honest moments, illustrating the intimacy associated with cultural elements of Vietnam, whose "secrets are intrinsic to geography." "By embedding a culture’s bygone songs in her poem, Que Mai carries both the weight (and gifts) of mango and plum to the reader, along with the wealth of a native literary tradition. The voice of the past shadows those of our modern-day street sellers, who draw strength from the words of ancestors, like water from the well. There is a collective here, of women who struggle to feed families, who must tolerate great physical strain. The past sings, and Que Mai shares it with us — a token of hope." Click here to read the full review. Order your own copy of The Secret of Hoa Sen from the BOA Bookstore today!
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