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A book of rare beauty: Ru is a lullaby of Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland. Was Radio 4 Book at Bedtime.
Kim Thúy writes with equal delicacy and candor about a childhood marked by horrifying brutality, and the pleasures of ordinary peace. A brave and moving book, bringing lucid insight both to the costs of violence, and elusive processes of psychic survival.
This is an exemplary autobiographical novel. Never is there the slightest hint of narcissism or self pity. The major events in the fall of Vietnam are painted in delicate strokes, through the daily existence of a woman who has to reinvent herself elsewhere. A tragic journey described in a keen, sensitive and perfectly understated voice.
"Life is a struggle," runs a Vietnamese proverb, "in which sorrow leads to defeat." Thúy's fictionalised memoir adopts a similarly unsentimental attitude to a life of extremes. ... The accounts of escape and arrival are exciting, but Ru is more about observation and atmosphere ... Thúy's stories are poetic and powerful.
An elegant, lyrical flow of prose . . . It is a difficult, challenging and ultimately rewarding read from an author already at the top of her game.
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