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Ru: A Novel Paperback – November 27, 2012
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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“[A] moving autobiographical novel... Thuy's poetic vignettes, set along the way from Southeast Asia to Quebec, bring specificity to the familiar immigrant journey.” ―Susannah Meadows, The New York Times
“This extraordinary first novel unfolds like ethereal poetry…. this is much more than another immigration story. For readers in search of intricate, mesmerizing narrative, Ru will not disappoint.” ―Library Journal, starred review
“Less is more in this slim, award-winning autobiographical novel... This flow of memories [goes] beyond the refugee experience to touch on war and peace, the strength of maternal love, even the devastation of autism... Ru means 'stream' in French and 'lullaby' in Vietnamese; both are apt for this luminous first novel of memories strung together in concise yet lyrical and sensuous prose.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Unsentimental... poetic and powerful.” ―The Guardian
“Gloriously, passionately, delicately unique... A remarkable book.” ―The Chronicle Journal
About the Author
Kim Thúy was born in Saigon and arrived in Quebec at age ten in 1978. She has degrees from the University of Montreal in linguistics and translation and in law, and lives in Montreal, where she now devotes herself to writing.
Sheila Fischman is a two-time winner of both the Canada Council Prize for Translation and Columbia University's Felix-Antoine Savard Award, and has also received the Governor General's Award for Translation and the Molson Prize for the Arts.
Top customer reviews
What I love about her work is that she uses very little words to tell an entire story. They are very few words, but the right words that make the biggest impact.
Her work is absolutely beautiful. Kim is also one of the nicest authors I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing. Her work is phenomenal. Her works are something you must include in your library.
Highly recommended for those who love beautiful literature, as well as Asians, Asian Americans, etc. Also, if you love Vietnamese Food, you'll love her book Man. She will have you lusting for the flavors of Vietnamese food from street vendors.
“My parents often remind my brothers and me that they won’t have any money for us to inherit, but I think they’ve already passed on to us the wealth of their memories, allowing us to grasp the beauty of a flowering wisteria, the delicacy of a word, the power of wonder. Even more, they’ve given us feet for walking to our dreams, to infinity. Which may be enough baggage to continue our journey on our own. Otherwise, we would pointlessly clutter our path with possessions to transport, to insure, to take care of.”
Tinh develops from mute fear in so-different Quebec, shadowing a schoolfriend, to someone who, upon returning to Vietnam, is told by a waiter that she cannot really be Vietnamese, essentially because she has grown too Western and sure of herself. The key is to endure - her mother passes onto her a Saigon proverb: "Life is a struggle in which sorrow leads to defeat.”
Some readers have seen structural problems with the loose connections, and questioned the lack of character depth. For me, neither of these detracted from the strong writing and affecting story, as we follow An Linh and her family and acquaintances from her childhood ruin to a new country and hope.
“I moved forward in the trace of their footsteps as in a waking dream where the scent of a newly blown poppy is no longer a perfume but a blossoming: where the deep red of a maple leaf in autumn is no longer a colour but a grace; where a country is no longer a place but a lullaby.”
Ru is beautifully written in a very unique style which captures your heart and mind. Kim Thuy's book is also informative. I had never really considered the horrible struggles Vietnamese immigrants have had to endure, nor the wonderful victories many of them have achieved. Kim Thuy surmounted every obstacle on her path with love, strength and dignity.
Although I have not finished the book, I certainly will, but even if I never finish it, what I have read thus far has been such a pleasure, I will never forget it.
BUT, there is one thing I don't understand, and since there is no contact information for Kim Thuy, there is no one to ask. I am very curious as to why her book is called a "fictionalized" novel. It's an autobiography, so why was there a need to "fictionalize" anything? And exactly what is real and what is not? How and why would you fictionalize your own life story? Oh well...