Read The Boat: Stories by Nam Le Free Online
Book Title: The Boat: Stories|
The author of the book: Nam Le
Date of issue: August 11th 2009
ISBN 13: 9780307388193
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 16.96 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.3
Read full description of the books:
I was delighted to find this book of well-written short stories by Aussie author Nam Le, who arrived here by boat as a refugee from Vietnam when he was only one.
These eight stories are all quite different from each other and Le speaks in many voices from different countries, all believable: Vietnamese, Colombian, Japanese, Iranian, Australian.
I think my favourite is the young Aussie lad in the fishing family with the sick mum. Football, a girl, bullies, a jetty, a struggling dad and younger brother. It’s all there. It’s a short story, but it’s all there. This one is reminiscent of Tim Winton.
That to me is the beauty of a good short story. You are curious about what came before and what might follow, but it isn’t necessary to know.
I don’t know if the first story is autobiographical or not, but Le got his Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa, and the first story is about a son writing about his Vietnamese father, who has come to visit him at the University of Iowa at an inopportune time when he has writing deadlines to meet. He resents the interruption and the reminders of his father’s history.
A friend says to just write about Vietnam. “Ethnic literature is hot.” His friends talk about exploiting the whole Vietnamese thing. He doesn’t want to, but as he pieces together his father’s story and understands the horrors of the massacre from which he escaped, he feels compelled.
“…all I could do was think about my father and his excuses. Those tattered bodies on top of him. The ten hours he’d waited, mud filling his lungs, until nightfall.”
He has trouble dealing with the contrast between his father’s experiences and his own life. It’s hard to look at this little old man and realise this was “the soldier” who’d raised him and punished him so harshly.
I enjoyed his writing style. About young Colombians, a guy says, “They look younger than I remember. Only Pedro has grown—he looks like he has been seized by a fistful of hair and stretched up two inches.”
About a father desperate to see his daughter who was taken from him as an infant, “The past’s a cold body of water for me and nowadays my bones ache after even a quick dip.”
The Aussie boy is sitting by the shore “shivering. It was like the wind was greased, he thought, it slid right against you, leaving your skin slippery where it touched.”
About swimming he thinks, “it was easy to forget, past the reef, that you were on the edge of the great continental shelf until a rip drifted you out and one of those cold currents snaked up from the depths and brushed its slightest fringe against your body. Then you remembered.”
I haven’t even mentioned the bombs in Tehran or the people in Hiroshima or The Boat, a harrowing story that could also have been his. You’ll just have to read them.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a copy of these to review. I hope there will be more to follow from this talented writer.
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Read information about the authorNam Le came to Australia from Vietnam with his parents, when he was less than a year old, as a boat refugee. He went to Melbourne Grammar School and the University of Melbourne, from where he graduated with a BA (Hons) and LLB (Hons). His Arts thesis supervisor was the Australian poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe. He worked as a corporate lawyer and was admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2003/2004.
However, he decided to turn to writing, and in 2004 attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop in the United States of America where he completed a Masters in Creative Writing. He became fiction editor at the Harvard Review. His first short story was published in Zoetrope in 2006. Nam Le also held fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in 2006, and at the Phillips Exeter Academy, in 2007.
In an interview on Australian ABC radio, he said he turned from law to writing due to his love of reading: "I loved reading, and if you asked me why I decided to become a writer, that's the answer right there, because I was a reader and I was just so enthralled and thrilled by the stuff that I'd read that I just thought; what could be better? How could you possibly better spend your time than trying to recreate that feeling for other people". In the same interview he said that his first writing was poetry.
He returned to Australia in 2008, but is moving to Great Britain to take up a writing fellowship at the University of East Anglia.
When asked about his source of inspiration, Nam Le said in 2008 that "I’d say I’m most inspired by my parents for the choices and sacrifices they’ve made. It still boggles me".
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