Annamese

I’ve posted several blogs about the title, Last of the Annamese. One way to understand the title is that it refers to one person. Another is that it denotes a people, the residents of An Nam, the old name for Vietnam. As I mentioned earlier, I deliberately used to name “Annamese” in both senses.

What I left largely unsaid is that the novel is about the destruction of a people. With the defeat of South Vietnam, the culture that was An Nam, which means “peace in the south,” came to an end. The gentle, sweet way of living that characterized the non-communist Vietnamese died along with the people whom the North Vietnamese killed or captured.

Late in the story, Chuck finds the South Vietnamese Marine Colonel Thanh sitting in his garden in the rain. Thanh points to sky and says that heaven is weeping. As he says, An Nam is no more.

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