Tuesday, June 28, 2022


The late Anthony Veasna So is the Khmer Philip Roth. His story “We Would Have Been Princes” from the collection Afterparties is Veasna So’s “Goodbye, Columbus.” Substitute for Jewish princesses the “Princes” of the title, iconic hellions with names Marlon and Bond whose “auto-genocide” mocks the suffering of their immigrant parents. Here'a the advice of Doctor Heng’s wife, a Khmer yenta. It's given at the wonderfully named Angkor Pharmacy: “Marry a girl because that is what you should do. I am not saying you cannot be gay. How hard is it to be normal and gay? You will marry a girl from Cambodia. A nice girl, a girl from a good family, a rich family, a princess from a rich family, and her parents will pay you fifty thousand dollars at least to marry their daughter and get her a green card and you and this girl will have children…after five years when the girl succeeds the citizenship test, you can divorce her and get joint custody of the children. Then you will invest your fifty thousand in the stock market. Your life will be established. You can be as gay as you want after your life is established. That is the plan.” Here'a Bergson's idea of laughter deriving from "inelasticity" and something famously conveyed in The Graduate, with one word “plastics.” Meaning may be contextual in a deconstructionist culture, but the one clear takeaway from the Veasna So collection is the universality of the immigrant experience, with its material aspirations and longing for assimilation.

read "What's Not Funny?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Got to Give It Up"by Marvin Gaye

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.