Friday 56 & #BookBeginnings: Ru


I came into the world during the Tet Offensive, in the early days of the Year of the Monkey, when the long chains of firecrackers draped in front of houses exploded polyphonically along with the sound of machine guns. 
- p. 1

For Friday 56:
After the first wave of boat people in the late 1970s, it no longer made sense to send girls to sea because encounters with pirates had become inevitable, a ritual of the journey, an inescapable injury. 
- p. 56

Here's another book after my own immigrant heart. While I didn't face the extreme conditions that Ru did, I can definitely relate to the feelings of displacement, alienation, and the need to be "can do" in a new culture and environment. How else can one move on?

Synopsis of Ru by Kim Thuy: Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow--of tears, blood, money. Kim Thúy's Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.


 

19 comments

  1. Ru sounds absolutely marvelous! I am adding this to my read list right now. Thanks for sharing! I don't know how I missed hearing about this one.
    Happy Reading,
    Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate

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    1. It's a wonderful book! Haven't yet reviewed it :)

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  2. Great teaser, glad to hear you're liking it! I've seen this book around in the bookstore and saw it on the shortlists last year but yeah, haven't read it myself yet. *goes off to see if she's added it to her want-to-read list yet*

    My Friday Book Memes

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    1. One of my friends lent it to me ... she said I could probably relate. I look forward to your thoughts on this one, Lianne!

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  3. Page 56 is terrifying but true. I can't imagine the dangers to go out by sea especially for women.

    My Hop

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    1. The entire book is slightly terrifying, Vonnie. You should try and get a copy!

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  4. Interesting choice and a very intriguing cover -happy reading :)

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    1. The cover IS gorg, isn't it? Thanks Jaffa!

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  5. Very interesting. It's always interesting to read about how others get use to a new and different culture.

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    1. I gravitate towards immigrant stories ... and I always learn something new. Have a great weekend,Tea!

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  6. The beginning reminds me a bit of Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight Children' but this sounds absolutely amazing! Definitely put it high on my TBR list! Thanks for sharing, hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

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    1. Hey you're right :) This is nothing like Midnight's Children though ... it's vignettes!

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  7. This one sounds like an awesome read...I've heard some of the stories from a few immigrants after arriving in a "receiving city." Thanks for sharing...and here's MY FRIDAY MEMES POST

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    1. Do you mean books about immigrant stories, or immigrants telling their stories first hand? It's not always pretty ... but what many are escaping is sometimes horrific.

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  8. Sounds like a really good read! I'm a new Bloglovin' follower.
    Check out my Friday 56

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  9. Sounds like an epic story!
    Happy weekend!

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    1. I really enjoyed it! Hope you're enjoying the last gasp of summer, Freda!

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall