Synopses & Reviews
"This collection of nearly 100 photographs shot in present-day Vietnam aims to look past the grisly wars of the last century by focusing on the unchanged daily lives of rice farmers reaping the fields, fishermen casting nets on the water, artisans in workshops, and others, stressing how deeply rooted these lives are in a cultural heritage 'undiminished by strife or modernism.' In the foreword, folk musician Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) calls the photos 'celebrations of the beauty and the spirit that have nurtured and sustained the people of Vietnam in times of painful struggle, in times of peace.' Divided into chapters on farming, fishing, craftsmanship, and spirituality, the book's images include three generations of basket weavers working shoulder to shoulder; children with nets, laughing knee-deep in the Perfume River; and a craftsman chiseling an ornate dragon god head. Despite some of their postcard affectations, the photos attest to a collective spirit hinged on the same work and traditions that have been honored for centuries a point that is brought home with analogous Vietnamese poems, some dating back hundreds of years. Although disproportionately limited to the north central coast region, and, at times, beset with dry, unenlightening compositions, this first collection by Tang is, nonetheless, an admirable effort to reorient perceptions of an exquisite, resilient country. Photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.