In Descant 160, the Hidden City issue: Vịnh Mốc: Life Underground

Descant 160 - the Hidden City IssueI am so pleased to have my piece Vịnh Mốc: Life Underground appear in Descant Magazine’s Hidden City issue.

With its  beautiful, mysterious photo by Jeremy Kai, I think this issue has one of the best-looking literary magazines covers I have seen.

Vịnh Mốc: Life Underground is a personal essay about the  community of people who lived
in almost three kilometres of tunnels in Quảng Trị province, Việt Nam, during the years of heavy U.S. bombing. It is also my story of bringing people to see this subterranean place.

The pages of Descant 160: The Hidden City are filled with fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photos and artwork that explore hidden and unexpected places. Suzana Vukić writes about Montreal’s Griffintown, Yasuko Thanh’s haunting piece takes place in Vancouver, and Jeremy Kai photographs Toronto’s underground. Việt Nam is well represented, appearing not only in my essay, but also in Manny Trinh’s lush, bright paintings of the landscapes of his childhood.

Descant has posted an introduction to this issue along with the table of contents, images and three excerpts. A selection from Vịnh Mốc: Life Underground appears at the bottom of the post.

The launch party for Descant 160 will be on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at The Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario.

Six contributors  (Ron Charach, Maureen Hynes, Cara-Lyn Morgan, Jim Nason, Sarah Pinder and Kilby Smith-McGregor), will be reading, along with this years’ Winston Collins/Descant Poetry Prize winner, John Lee. It promises to be a great evening.


About Chris Galvin

Chris Galvin is a Canadian writer, editor and photographer dividing her time between Canada and Viet Nam. Her essay Flood Season was a finalist for the 2012 Best of the Net prize, and Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam won third place (shared) and a Readers’ Choice Award in the 2015 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals, including Descant, Asian Cha, PRISM International, Room, and others. She has written in Vietnamese and English for Vietnam Tourism Review/Kham Pha Du Lich Vietnam Magazine, Travellive, and Du Lich Giai Tri. Chris is currently looking for a home for her recently completed manuscript, Breakfast Under the Bodhi Tree, a book about living, eating, and tour-guiding in Viet Nam.
This entry was posted in Creative Non-Fiction, Memoir, Publications, Viet Nam, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to In Descant 160, the Hidden City issue: Vịnh Mốc: Life Underground

  1. Congratulations! It looks awesome. Gorgeous cover too. 🙂

  2. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Congratulations! Fascinating subject, I hope I’ll get to read it.

    • chris says:

      Thanks, D.D.! If you’re interested, you can click on the photo, which will take you to a page where you can order a copy. They’re $15 to the U.S. though.

  3. Congratulations, Chris! How exciting. Love the cover, too.

  4. Evelyn says:

    Congratulations, Chris, on being published once again! I read the excerpt from your piece…it’s haunting. Being a young woman during those awful war years, I can so relate to the history. What made the evening news in the States about the bombings is not the reality that these poor people lived. You’ve put a human face on what was such political propaganda in those days. Thank you for sharing the story.

    • chris says:

      Thanks Evelyn. There was so much going on at so many levels. I don’t think we’ll ever even know the half of it. The more I read on the subject, and the more I learn from people, the more I need to keep reading and learning.

  5. Quirina says:

    Fabulous, Chris! I just read your excerpt and as always you have rendered beautiful prose on memories that should never be lost, because it is a miracle of survival. The magazine cover photo is also spectacular. Well done! 🙂

  6. Evelyn Jackson says:

    Hi Chris,

    I saw your comment on my blog about the funnel thing. The photo isn’t very good because Dedou, our guide, ‘talked with his hands’ and they never remained still hardly a minute! So, it’s a bit blurry. The funnel is actually metal.

    Hope this doesn’t gross you out, but the farmer’s wife (usually her, and not him) used it to gavage her ducks and geese with corn and other fattening foods. This made them have huge livers which then became the source of lovely *foie gras* when the bird was butchered. She would hold the bird between her knees, head up, put the end of the funnel in its gullet and pour the corn mash into the funnel. Sounds disgusting, I know. But the birds were treated very well and very gently and came to like this way of feeding.

    Hope you are doing well. I enjoyed the excerpt from your story about Viet Nam.

    Take care,’ Evelyn

  7. chris says:

    Thanks for taking the trouble to answer here. I was going to respond on your blog, but perhaps you are giving people time to guess before publishing your response…

    I did know about gavage, but had never seen what the funnel looked like other than in drawings. Somehow, I can’t imagine the birds ever coming to enjoy this, but I certainly have no personal experience with it. I’ve never eaten foie gras either, though I’ve had my share of paté de foie. I imagine that the former is more silky and rich.

    Thanks again for reading the excerpt, too.

  8. Hi Chris. How does one go about accessing this edition of the magazine in Vietnam or on PDF?

    • chris says:

      Hi Steve. Thanks for asking. You can order an issue here:
      However, it’s $20 CAD (almost at par with USD) for an international order, but includes shipping. I wonder though, if the issue would get “lost” in the VN postal service. Let me know if you are going to take the chance, or if you’d rather not, in which case I’ll try to get you a copy another way.

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