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Naked Eye, The [Paperback]

Yoko Tawada

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Book Description

April 28 2009 New Directions Paperbook

A precocious Vietnamese high school student — known as the pupil with “the iron blouse” — in Ho Chi Minh City is invited to an International Youth Conference in East Berlin. But, in East Berlin, as she is preparing to present her paper in Russian on “Vietnam as a Victim of American Imperialism,” she is abruptly kidnapped and taken to a small town in West Germany. After a strange spell of domestic-sexual boredom with her lover-abductor — and though “the Berlin Wall was said to be more difficult to break through than the Great Wall of China” — she escapes on a train to Moscow . . . but mistakenly arrives in Paris. Alone, broke, and in a completely foreign land, Anh (her false name) loses herself in the films of Catherine Deneuve as her real adventures begin.

Dreamy, meditative, and filled with the gritty everyday perils of a person living somewhere without papers (at one point Anh is subjected to some vampire-like skin experiments), The Naked Eye is a novel that is as surprising as it is delightful — each of the thirteen chapters titled after and framed by one of Deneuve’s films. “As far as I was concerned,” the narrator says while watching Deneuve on the screen, “the only woman in the world was you, and so I did not exist.” By the time 1989 comes along and the Iron Curtain falls, story and viewer have morphed into the dislocating beauty of both dancer and dance.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (April 28 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811217396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811217392
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 12.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #898,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Naked Eye July 31 2009
By Francis Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In Yoko Tawada's The Naked Eye--translated from German earlier this year--a Vietnamese student travels to East Berlin to give a lecture on "Vietnam As a Victim of American Imperialism," only to be smuggled against her will to the other side of the Iron Curtain. She then tries to catch a train to Moscow but instead finds herself in Paris, alone and alienated by language, ideology, and ethnicity. Throughout all of these displacements, the student grows increasingly obsessed with Catherine Deneuve (to whom she refers throughout the novel in the second person), taking refuge in the darkness of half-empty cinemas to watch the actress's films over and over again. Tawada's novel doesn't hesitate to explore complex issues of identity and representation in an image-saturated world, but what has stayed with me the most is how her prose beautifully embodies her young character's fragile and preoccupied state of mind.
-From Guernica web magazine
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identity Nov. 10 2011
By MiiMii - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book turned out to be surprisingly good! I didnt have an idea what I was getting into as I never heard of this author before. I definitley recommend this book to literature lovers, or even to have something to look upon when looking at oneself in another shoes.

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