The Stars, The Earth, The River ($12.95 paperback original; Apr. 1997; 248 pp.; 1-880684-47-0): Fourteen stories of life during and after the war in Vietnam, by an accomplished North Vietnamese writer experienced both in combat and as a war correspondent. Khue's passionate tales of her people's struggles are essentially divided between vigorous descriptions of transformative experiences in or near battle (``The Distant Stars,'' ``The Blue Sky'') and relentlessly frank portrayals of peacetime adjustment (``A Day on the Road,'' ``Fragile as a Sunray''). Khue is often discursive, but virtually never doctrinaire, and her finest stories--such as the superb ``A Small Tragedy''--convey with a rare combination of compassion and objectivity the dual nature of a grievously damaged country and its people's stoic resilience.