Dreamscapes: The Truth, a Dream by Nguyen Duy Tri

In the calm realm of contemporary Vietnamese literature, a collection of short stories titled “The Truth, a Dream” by Nguyen Duy Tri shimmers with quiet power. Published in 2022 under the evocative title “Wait for Winter,” the collection paints a nuanced tapestry of human experiences, where dreams and reality blur, secrets simmer beneath the surface, and everyday life acquires a touch of the surreal. This blog post delves into the intricate world of Tri’s narratives, uncovering the hidden truths and subtle dreamscapes that captivate and challenge readers.

Weaving the Fabric of Reality: Everyday Lives Intertwined

Tri’s stories are rooted in the seemingly mundane – a chance encounter on a bus, a family grappling with secrets, a young couple navigating the complexities of love. Yet, under his masterful pen, these ordinary situations morph into microcosms of human emotions, revealing universal themes of loss, longing, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. In “The Old Man and the River,” an isolated fisherman contemplates the vastness of time and the evanescence of his existence, weaving a poignant tale of solitude and the search for meaning. In “The Girl Who Can’t Remember Dreams,” memory and amnesia entwine in a surreal exploration of identity and the elusive nature of the past. The characters, ordinary on the surface, pulse with unspoken desires and hidden vulnerabilities, inviting readers to step into their shoes and experience life through their unique lenses.

Where Dreams and Reality Merge: The Power of the Subconscious

The title “The Truth, a Dream” itself hints at the intricate interplay between conscious and unconscious realms in Tri’s narratives. Dreams, both literal and metaphorical, permeate the stories, blurring the lines between what is real and what is imagined. In “The Smell of Rain,” a woman haunted by nightmares seeks solace in the rain, only to confront a truth even more startling than her dreams. In “Waiting for the Moon,” a young boy’s fantastical dreams collide with the harsh realities of family betrayal, leaving him adrift in a world where he can no longer trust his own perceptions. Tri masterfully utilizes dream imagery as a conduit to explore the hidden depths of the human psyche, revealing unspoken desires, fears, and anxieties that linger beneath the surface of everyday life.

Memory and Nostalgia: A Haunting Past

The past casts a long shadow in Tri’s stories, its echoes reverberating in the present with both warmth and pain. Characters grapple with memories of lost loves, childhood traumas, and unfulfilled dreams. In “The House on the Hill,” a woman revisits her childhood home, unearthing long-buried secrets and confronting the ghosts of her past. In “The Boat,” a man mourns the loss of his father, retracing his journey through a riverine landscape that becomes a poignant metaphor for loss and remembrance. Tri’s portrayal of memory is bittersweet, laced with the beauty of nostalgia but also acknowledging its power to haunt and constrain. He invites readers to contemplate the lingering influence of the past on our present lives, urging us to confront and reconcile with our shadows.

Nature as a Mirror: Reflecting the Human Condition

The natural world plays a significant role in Tri’s narratives, often serving as a mirror reflecting the inner turmoil of his characters. Lush landscapes of rice paddies, shimmering rivers, and towering mountains provide both solace and challenge. In “The Field of Stars,” a young woman finds solace in the vastness of the night sky, her connection to nature offering a temporary escape from the complexities of human relationships. In “The Rain-Swept Road,” a journey through a storm-drenched landscape becomes a symbolic reflection of the protagonist’s emotional turmoil, highlighting the interconnectedness between the inner and outer worlds. Tri’s masterful use of nature imagery adds depth and texture to his stories, reminding us of our place within the grand tapestry of the natural world.

Love and Loss: The Fragile Embrace of Human Connection

Love, in its various forms, is a central theme in Tri’s stories. He portrays the tender moments of budding romance, the bittersweet ache of unrequited love, and the enduring strength of familial bonds. In “The Train Journey,” a chance encounter on a train sparks an unexpected connection between two strangers, offering a glimpse into the transformative power of human connection. In “The Woman in White,” a wife grapples with the loss of her husband, her grief manifesting in a poignant exploration of love and mortality. Tri’s characters yearn for connection, even as they fear the vulnerability it requires. He reminds us of the fragility of human relationships, but also celebrates the beauty and resilience of love in the face of loss and uncertainty.


Nguyen Duy Tri’s “The Truth, a Dream” is more than just a collection of short stories; it’s a captivating tapestry of human existence woven with dreams and reality, memory and longing. In delving into these intimate narratives, we encounter characters who grapple with everyday struggles, hidden desires, and the haunting whispers of the past. Tri’s masterful prose guides us through landscapes both physical and emotional, allowing us to share in the quiet yearnings, unspoken anxieties, and moments of unexpected grace that shape our lives.

“The Truth, a Dream” leaves us with a profound sense of humanity’s complexity and resilience. It reminds us that beneath the surface of ordinary lives lie hidden depths, whispering dreams, and secrets waiting to be unveiled. Tri invites us to embrace the ambiguity of existence, to confront our own shadows, and to find solace in the shared tapestry of human experiences. And ultimately, he compels us to contemplate the truth that lies not just outside, but within ourselves, in the dreamscapes we carry within our hearts.


1. How is “The Truth, a Dream” different from other Vietnamese short story collections?

Tri’s collection stands out for its masterful balance of lyrical prose, subtle symbolism, and profound exploration of human emotions. He delves into the inner lives of his characters with a sensitivity and nuance rarely seen in contemporary Vietnamese literature.

2. Does the collection have a specific theme or message?

While there’s no overt message, the stories resonate with universal themes of memory, loss, love, and the quest for meaning. Tri invites readers to draw their own interpretations and find personal connections within the narratives.

3. Is the collection translated into English?

Currently, there is no official English translation of “The Truth, a Dream.” However, individual stories have been translated by various literary journals and online platforms. Hopefully, a complete English translation will be available in the future.

4. Where can I learn more about Nguyen Duy Tri and his work?

Unfortunately, information about Tri and his work is limited online, particularly in English. You can try searching for online publications of his translated stories or reaching out to Vietnamese literary communities for insights.

5. What other Vietnamese authors would you recommend exploring?

Several esteemed Vietnamese authors deserve your attention, including Duong Thu Huong, Nguyen Khai Giang, and Phan Boi Tran. Each brings their unique perspective and writing style to the literary landscape, offering insightful glimpses into Vietnamese society and culture.

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