Vietnamese nail technicians to tell me about their homeland. Most are too young to remember the Vietnam War, but not too young to have intimate knowledge of the chemical devastation to their country’s landscape, which peels back another, deeper layer to deBuys’ story.
Reading William deBuys’ eloquent story The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures (2015: Little, Brown and Company), I found myself immersed in a post-war culture where everything that grows or crawls or trots or flies, is either eaten or commoditized. Including human beings. This post-war world is poignantly, beautifully and humbly rendered by deBuys in The Last Unicorn.
The Last Unicorn for the women at Diamond Nails. Perhaps one of them remembers a grandfather's tale from long ago about a mysterious, dark eyed creature in the woods traveling unharmed across a borderless land.
Notes: View more photos in a slideshow of William deBuys travels in search of the saola. Read “A Wildlife Mystery in Vietnam: The discovery of the saola alerted scientists to the strange diversity of Southeast Asia's threatened forests” (Richard Stone, Smithsonian, 2008). Read "Sticking it Out" guest essay by William deBuys in the Colorado Plateau Advocate magazine, Spring 2015. Read The New York Times March review, "Searching for a Magical Creature."