Mãn by Kim Thúy is a slip of a novel but looks can be deceptive – it’s a rich, melancholy tale about belonging.
Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who scarifies all that she can for her daughter.
‘In the distance, in the warm light, she saw me, and I became her daughter. She gave me a second birth by bringing me up in a big city, an anonymous elsewhere, behind a schoolyard, surrounded by children who envied me for having a mother who taught school and sold iced bananas.’ Continue reading
It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.
Recently, a member of my book group called me a ‘book pusher’. I feigned disbelief – “I don’t push books onto people!” I exclaimed. But I do. I do it all the time. Once I’ve read a really good book, I want everyone around me to share the joy.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Read in 2012. Or, in other words, the Top Ten Books I’ve Been Pushing on People This Year.
1. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – my favourite book for the year.
2. Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett – this book will never leave me.
3. The Forrests by Emily Perkins – unusual and very special.
You know that clever little feature on your Kindle that lets you highlight favourite passages? Mine went into overdrive when I was reading the utterly brilliant Ru by Kim Thúy.
At ten years old, Kim Thúy fled Vietnam on a boat with her family, leaving behind a grand house and the many less tangible riches of their home country: the ponds of lotus blossoms, the songs of soup-vendors. The family arrived in Quebec, where they found clothes at the flea market, and mattresses with actual fleas.
There’s a delicacy and an innocence to Thúy’s words that is quite simply, breathtaking.
“Love, as my son Pascal knows it, is defined by the number of hearts drawn on a card or by how many stories about dragons are told by flashlight under a down-filled comforter. I have to wait a few more years till I can report to him that in other times, other places, parents showed their love by willingly abandoning their children, like the parents of Tom Thumb.” Continue reading