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Ру
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ISBN
978-619-150-081-9
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978-619-150-119-9
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Rating (5)
5 5
Format
Paperback
Size
13/20
Weight
150 gr.
Pages
144
Published
15 October 2012

Ru

Kim Thúy’s autobiographical debut novel, RU, describes a life-changing voyage from a childhood in strife-filled postwar Vietnam to a new beginning in 1970s Quebec. Unflinching in content and strikingly unique in form, the novel is itself an ambitious journey. RU is a poetic and highly individual exploration of what it can mean to straddle multiple cultures and identities simultaneously.

The word “ru” is Vietnamese for lullaby. In French it can signify a stream or flow. A fitting title for this book, given both RU’s haunting and incantatory writing style and the migratory passage the Montreal-based novelist describes. Although the first-person narrator of RU identifies herself in the novel’s opening pages as a woman named Nguyen An Tinh, the author has told the Quebec press that the book’s events accurately reflect her personal recollections of a life characterized by dramatic environmental shifts. That harrowing travelogue includes fleeing from an opulent lifestyle as a South Vietnamese child of privilege, to an overcrowded Malaysian refugee camp, to eventual settlement in and acculturation to Bill 101-era Quebec. In unadorned and dignified prose, Thúy spares no detail about the harsh passage by overfull boat, marked by abundances of scabies and excrement, and equal measures of terror and hope.

About the Author
Kim  Thúy

Kim Thúy was born in Saigon and came to Canada in 1979 at the age of 10.

Sensitively rendered in English by celebrated translator Sheila Fischman, Thúy’s novel originated with a French edition that won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 2010 as well as a number of other prizes. 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.

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