Among the Boat People – A Memoir of Vietnam – Review

Martha King

Among the Boat People - A Memoir of Vietnam Nhi Mahn Chung Autonomedia, 2019 Nhi Chung has been working on this book off and on for over twenty years. A few portions have been published, mostly "earlier versions" since rewritten -- but none of them in terms of readability, literary conventions, story-telling principals -- none of them WORK. Just the same, a comprehensive new edition from Autonomedia was launched at BlueStockings Bookshop on Friday, January 17. Why? The lack of consistent timeline, the disjointed pacing, the flattened emotions, actually make Ms. Chung's book an amazing document and finally a deeply moving one. Her book through its many changes, quotations from the work of others and evidence of rewriting "help", remains utterly artless. I know that word has a sweet definition. It can be taken to mean charm. Without guile or artifice. But at bottom "artless" means exactly what it says: Without art. ...
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Max Sees Red by Martha King – Review

Jim Feast

Martha King, Max Sees Red (New York: Spuyten Duvvil, 2019) One of the greatest mysteries of Martha King’s brilliant new novel Max Sees Red does not appear in the narrative itself but in the author’s bio at the end. It reads, “Martha King has never lived in the Hudson Valley or in Soho where this story takes place.” The mystery is that this story, set in those two locales in 1978, paints such a vivid and detailed portrait, one with the ring of authenticity, so that until hitting this end note the reader thinks the author is using materials drawn from her own life. For instance, look at this this sharply etched description of the changing face of Hudson Valley: As Max turned the car from the parkway … he noticed the contrast between the first two houses [he saw]. The nearest … was roofed with rusted tin. Its wooden sides were faced with odd sections of black tar paper, and shiny greenish vinyl. .. The next ho...
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