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La Dolce Vita

The camp took place in the bucolic township of Yongpyong, a three-hour bus ride east of Seoul. Twenty professors from top conservatories convened at Alpine Valley Hotel with their flocks of protégés numbering about a hundred in all, predominantly girls. Over the next two weeks, we were to learn from the venerated masters and perform in the concerts held every other evening in the hotel’s grand banquet hall.

The Woman Who Knew Judo

I used to sit in the kitchen and draw when Jean visited my mother. I loved to show my completed drawings to Jean. She made me feel as if I’d discovered an elemental truth, or shown her something vital. Once, when I handed her a picture I’d done of a yellow lion with spindly legs and huge round eyes, she looked at it with consideration and said, “You know, it doesn’t look like a real lion. But I think you’ve caught the spirit of a lion here, and that’s a lot more important. This lion has lion-ness.”

Vagaries

Vu Tran’s story, “Vagaries,” first appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review’s Fall 2004 issue. The girl, when Chau first sees her, looks restless. She sits in the restaurant’s crowded patio under a table umbrella that shades her from the bright noon sun. One arm remains in