Over the Moat by James Sullivan
Love Among the Ruins of Imperial Vietnam

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In the fall of 1992, James Sullivan travels to Vietnam to bicycle from Saigon to Hanoi. He has just finished graduate school and has an assignment to write a magazine story about a country that is still subject to a U.S. trade embargo. But in Hue, the old imperial capital of Vietnam, the planned three-month bike trip takes a detour. Here, in a city spliced by the famed Perfume River and filled with French baroque villas, he finds himself bicycling over a moat to visit a beautiful shop girl who lives amid the ruins of the last imperial dynasty of Vietnam. She falls for him, but there's a catch. Several other suitors are vying for her hand, and one of them is an official with the city's police force. Over the Moat is the story of Sullivan's efforts to win Thuy's favor while immersing himself in Vietnamese culture, of kindly insinuating himself in Thuy's colorful and warm family, and of learning how to create a common language based on love and understanding.

About James Sullivan

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James Sullivan was born and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts, and attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His journalism has appeared in a number of national magazines. He lives with his wife Thuy and their two children in Scarborough, Maine.
Published January 1, 2004 by San Val. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel. Non-fiction

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The ensuing complications afforded the author a Kiplingesque take on the community of marginally depraved Western expats going to seed in Bangkok, where he waited in agony for bribes and paperwork to interact.

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Publishers Weekly

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Perhaps a few more years (or a couple more trips abroad) would have produced deeper insights than "People had been coming East for answers for centuries, and in some way, I believed that I'd come East to answer questions I hadn't ever asked....

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