by Andrew X. Pham
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Pub Date 23 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2023
A sweeping first novel of love, war, and resistance in post–World War II Japanese-occupied Vietnam, by the award-winning author of Catfish and Mandala.
The peak of the hot season, 1942: The wars in Europe and Asia and the Japanese occupation have upset the uneasy balance of French Indochina. In the Vietnamese fishing village of Phan Thiet, Tuyet ekes out a living at a small storefront with her aunt Coi, her cousin Ha, and her two-year-old daughter, Anh. She can hardly remember her luxurious life in the city of Saigon, which she left just two years ago.
The day Tuyet meets Japanese major Yamazaki Takeshi is inauspicious and stifling, with no relief from the sand-stirring wind. But to her surprise, she feels not fear or wariness, but a strange kinship. Tuyet is guarded, knowing how the townspeople might whisper, yet is drawn to Takeshi’s warmth all the same. A wounded veteran with a good heart, Takeshi grows to resent the Empire for what it has taken—and the promises it has failed to keep. As the Viet Minh begin to battle the French and Takeshi risks his life for the Resistance, Tuyet and her family are drawn into the conflict, with devastating consequences.
A lushly panoramic novel, by turns gritty and profoundly moving, Twilight Territory is at once a war story and a love story that offers a fascinating perspective on Vietnam’s struggles to break free of its French colonial past. At its heart is one woman’s struggle for independence and her country’s liberation.
About the Author: Andrew X. Pham is a journalist and author who has been a Guggenheim Fellow, winner of the Whiting Writers' Award and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.
"A sensual fever dream of a novel. Compulsively readable. Much like Marguerite Duras, Pham illuminates parts of Vietnam’s lesser-known history through the complicated lives of its people." - Tatjana Soli, author of The Lotus Eaters
"Deeply empathetic, heart-wrenching, and moving, Twilight Territory highlights the devastating impact of colonization on both the colonizers and the colonized. With his iconic poetic prose, Andrew X. Pham gifts us an epic love story that conquers wars, horror, and human greed to offer us hope and light." - Nguyen Phan Que Mai, internationally best-selling author of The Mountains Sing and Dust Child