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David Joiner Speaks about Lotusland on Sharing Vietnam

lotuslandIn a recent interview on “Sharing Vietnam” David Joiner speaks about his novel, Lotusland. He discusses his life in Vietnam, his fascination with the country, and his intention of bringing a new vision of Vietnam to western readers through Lotusland.

Lotusland was published by Guernica Editions in Spring 2015.

David Joiner, an American who moved to Vietnam in 1994, explains what impresses him about the country and its culture.

“I think first of all what fascinates me so much about Vietnam are the differences between where I’m from, the midwest in the United States, and Vietnam and with that fascination comes a level of respect and admiration”

He stresses his admiration of the “openness of the [Vietnamese] society” and explains how this helped him adapt to life in Vietnam.

“ That has not changed for 21 years… People here are very curious, they’re very outgoing and that makes it really easy to talk to people and to learn about their lives and about their culture. And it makes it easy to make friends as well…it gave me a way into the culture.”

Furthermore, he explains the significance of lacquer painting in his novel– an element through which he attempts to display Vietnamese culture.

“Vietnamese lacquer painting is something I’ve always admired. The history and the techniques are very unique to Vietnam also… I had access to some scholars and some painters at the Fine Arts University in Hanoi and also some friends of mine who were lacquer painters, and so I had the opportunity to interview them… It’s something I wanted to share with the readers. I wanted to bring culture into the book, which wasn’t a very easy thing to do.”

Joiner elaborates on the significance of Lotusland as it relates to the complicated relationship between the United States and Vietnam.

“One of my intentions was to present Vietnam today to an American readership… Too many Americans especially associate Vietnam with the war… They associate it with very popular movies about the war or other books… But there’s a huge gap in American literature about Vietnam, there are very few novels set in today’s Vietnam. So one of my intentions was to give American readers access to what Vietnam is like today.”

The significance of this relationship as portrayed in the novel extends to the release date of the book, which “coincided with the 40th anniversary of the end of the war.”

David Joiner is currently working on a second novel, set in 1990’s Vietnam and Cambodia.

To watch the whole interview on Sharing Vietnam, visit YouTube:

Posted in Commentaries, Fiction, Interviews.

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