- File Size: 4291 KB
- Print Length: 324 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1520447876
- Publication Date: December 10, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00CMFU3X0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,693 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$9.99|
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The Collection of Heng Souk Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
It's interesting that Sun, the niece of Heng Souk, was sickened by what he had done during the war. This will ever be one of the ironies of war; that those who come after reject the brutality of their forefathers. They are blind to a time when the luxury of taking the long view was impossible. People were dying, countries were being invaded, information had to be obtained, and decisions had to be made. As Heng tells his niece when she asks if the words in the journal written by the young American were true, "I did what needed to be done". I think that therein lies the hope for the human race; that generation by successive generation reject things that were done in the past. And although repelled, Sun is either unwilling or unable to stop reading and questioning, demanding to understand.
Meanwhile Thomas Allen is on his way to Vietnam to look for traces of a father he has never known. His path will cross with both Sun and Heng Souk and the results will be both bloody and unexpected. Thomas and Sun, children of the generation following the war but from opposite sides, are left to find and make peace with the actions of men who fought each other in a war that left deep scars on two different countries.
When our children look into our pasts there is always the chance that they will unearth things better left buried. Secrets long hidden, decisions made, acts committed, pain tucked away, can come back to life to haunt us, and worse, our children. Sometimes they go to the grave with us but many times, through unforseen circumstances, even a kind of cosmic bitter retribution, they are unearthed.
In the end, this is an age old story about children searching for the truth of their lives through the examination of those who came before. Coming to terms with what they find out is a solitary process that can answer some questions and leave them with more. The lessons learned will be shown in how they proceed with their lives.
The novel beautifully proposes the result if each of us were to be able to leave the citadels of our own minds and observe the soul of other men and women. This construct can easily become maudlin and the temptation must always be to resolve terrifying differences neatly. This author has resisted these traps and crafted a novel that makes me pause deeply. The language is literate and used with elegance. I recommend you read this unknown book and find a truly gifted writer.
This is one of those rare finds, and I believe that it will grow in popularity as more people discover it. This is the story of Sun, a Vietnamese woman, whose father dies. She is instructed to deliver a gun with a pencil stuck in the barrel to her father's brother, Heng Souk. This gun becomes crucial to the story.
Throughout her life Sun has heard her mother talk of this brother in very discouraging terms. Sun, never having met him, seeks him out and delivers the gun. What ensues is her discovery of the role her uncle played in a horrible POW camp in Viet Nam. While at her uncle's shabby apartment, she discovers a notebook and he gives her to read.
Inside the notebook are many pages written by an American POW in the camp. The horrors of his interment and the brutality the POW describes, coming from the hands of her uncle, greatly disturb Sun. But as the days go by, they decide to visit this old POW camp, and Sun slowly changes her mind about her uncle as he talks to her about his role in the camp.
Across the world, in England, the father of a man named Thomas has just died and Thomas finds out that this was not his biological father. His mother and sister tell him the truth.The truth is that his mother, while a young US citizen and still living in the US, had an affair with a GI before he went off to fight in Viet Nam. The GI wrote her a few letters and in writing back to him, she tells him she is pregnant with his child. She doesn't hear from him again, so she emigrates to England to live with her father's relatives there.
Having gone through the accidental drowning death of his three year old daughter and subsequent divorce, Thomas is a shattered man. Finding out about his true parentage, he decides to go to Viet Nam and see if he can discover anything which will lead him to his father. This is where his path crosses that of Sun and her uncle Henk, as Thomas also travels to the old POW camp to search for clues. In her hands, Sun holds the notebook of the American POW. In his notebook, he wrote of Thomas' father, and how he was also a prisoner in the camp, and how he was killed by Sun's uncle.
I fear I've already given away too much of the story, so I'll not spoil it by going into it any further!
The cleverly interwoven stories of Sun and Thomas, two people from different cultures and different lives, did not disappoint. They each came to their own watershed moments of what life should be about. But this was not a love story by any means. Sun and Thomas went on to resume their respective lives, but each was changed and strengthened by what they learned while in the POW camp.
There were so many things to love about this book. The prose was wonderfully constructed and some sentences contained an ethereal, lyrical quality. While the descriptions of the POW camp were depressing and horrifying, they never descended to lurid details designed to sicken the reader. They were realistic without being eviscerating.
This book was different from anything I've read before, and I'm a voracious reader. It was a wonderful escape from the mundane, formulaic historical fictions pieces that are flooding the market. I would heartily recommend it.