Monday, 7 September 2015

Man by Kim Thuy

Earlier on in the year I attended an author event with Thuy and read Ru. I adored it. It was beautiful, heart-felt and poetic.

Last week I was in need of some beauty and picked up Thuy's latest book, Man in anticipation.

Once again, Thuy explores the immigrants story. The search for self, family and belonging is teased out thoughtfully via our narrator, Man.

Language and its many vagaries are played with, although sadly, I suspect that reading this book in English means that we miss many of the subtleties between Vietnamese and French.

Thuy/Man also talks about this issue of language,

To grasp the nuances between two related words, to distinguish melancholy from grief, for example, I weigh each one. When I hold them in my hands, one seems to hang like grey smoke while the other is compressed into a ball of steel. I guess and I grope and the answer is often the right one as the wrong one. I constantly make mistakes.

I confess that Man's story failed to engage me in the same way as Ru. It was an interesting, enjoyable tale, but it lacked the vibrancy and beauty that I experienced with Ru.

Perhaps the autobiographical nature of Ru added that personal touch that gave its story an extra edge or immediacy. Maybe the love story at the centre of Man felt unbelievable. I also wanted more food stories.

But there is no denying Thuy's ability to create unique word pictures in both books:
I had learned how to fall asleep very quickly, on command, so that my eyelids would serve as curtains over landscapes or scenes from which I preferred to be absent. I was able to move from consciousness to unconsciousness with a snap of the fingers, between two sentences, or before the remark that would offend me was spoken.

2 comments:

  1. Great review! I hadn't heard of Kim Thúy before. I think I'll start with Ru :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ru was a really gorgeous story - eloquent and poetic. I hope you enjoy it too :-)

      Delete

I love hearing from you but I understand that blogger commenting can be a frustrating experience for many.

Make sure you're logged into your account before writing your comment, otherwise blogger will eat it. I have occasionally found lost comments by hitting the back arrow button.

A recent discussion with blogger admin revealed that the ability to post comments "is sensitive to both cookie and script filters. Your readers may need to enable (stop filtering) 'third party cookies', in their browser and on their computer. And, have them check their script filters, too. Third party cookies filtering, in a browser setting, is the most common solution. Filters are subject to update, by the creator. If the problem started a few days ago, your readers may have to look on their computers, and find out what product or accessory was updated, a few days ago."
I hope this helps. Using a different browser for a while was another suggestion.

All anonymous comments will be deleted.

If all else fails, you can contact me on my fb page or twitter.

Thanks to another increase in spam comments I have now added word verification on ALL posts.