Vietnamese Legends: Background information when reading The Frangipani Hotel

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The Frangipani Hotel

Stories

By Violet Kupersmith

The Frangipani Hotel
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2014,
    256 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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Beyond the Book:
Vietnamese Legends

As evidenced in The Frangipani Hotel, Vietnam abounds with mythology and ghost stories. In the country's creation myth, Dragon Lord Lạc Long Quân and his fairy wife, Au Cợ, hatched their 100 children from eggs, giving rise to Vietnam's 100 family surnames. Lạc Long Quân had an undersea palace at the southern coast, but Au Cợ and 50 children stayed in the northern mountains, thus peopling the country's two distinct terrains. In Kupersmith's story "Red Veil," Sister Emmanuel recounts this legend before embarking on her personal history: "I will start at the very beginning—the beginning we all were taught as children. Thousands of years ago, a dragon prince and a fairy spirit fell in love..." Thus Vietnam's primal story paves the way for all the magical tales to come.

Illustration of Vietnamese legend The Communist government discourages belief in spirits, and is suspicious of shrines. Still, Vietnamese folk religion, including ancestor worship, thrives. Ghosts (con ma), ...

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