Ru by Kim Thúy
A Novel

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...the author attempts to address a raft of other issues that lie too far outside the scope of her personal story...These are important topics — for some other book. Here, their passing mention is ineffective and distracting.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award Winner of the Grand Prix RTL-Lire Shortlisted for the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie
Longlisted for Canada Reads 2015

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. Kim learned French and English, and as she grew older, seized what opportunities an immigrant could; she put herself through school picking vegetables and sewing clothes, worked as a lawyer and interpreter, and later as a restaurateur. She was married and a mother when the urge to write struck her, and she found herself scribbling words at every opportunity - pulling out her notebook at stoplights and missing the change to green. The story emerging was one of a Vietnamese émigré on a boat to an unknown future: her own story fictionalized and crafted into a stunning novel.

The novel's title, Ru, has meaning in both Kim's native and adoptive languages: in Vietnamese, ru is a lullaby; in French, a stream. And it provides the perfect name for this slim yet potent novel. With prose that soothes and sings, Ru weaves through time, flows and transports: a river of sensuous memories gathering power. It's a classic immigrant story told in a breathtaking new way.
 

About Kim Thúy

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Kim Thúy was born in Saigon and arrived in Quebec at age ten in 1978. She has degrees from the University of Montreal in linguistics and translation and in law, and lives in Montreal, where she now devotes herself to writing. Sheila Fischman is a two-time winner of both the Canada Council Prize for Translation and Columbia University's Felix-Antoine Savard Award, and has also received the Governor General's Award for Translation and the Molson Prize for the Arts.
 
Published November 27, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA. 162 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Ru
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by James Smart on Jun 12 2012

Thúy's impressionistic approach means the book can feel rudderless...

Read Full Review of Ru: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Dec 10 2012

Kim Thuy's images on these spare pages in this slender book will stay with you in the same way, luminous behind your closed eyelids.

Read Full Review of Ru: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by JIM BARTLEY on Feb 10 2012

Subtlety of voice and effect is Thúy’s strongest hand. Never is there a sense of false drama or manipulation of pain for easy emotional gain.

Read Full Review of Ru: A Novel | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Shawn Syms on Feb 03 2012

...the author attempts to address a raft of other issues that lie too far outside the scope of her personal story...These are important topics — for some other book. Here, their passing mention is ineffective and distracting.

Read Full Review of Ru: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Shawn Syms on Feb 03 2012

...a number of sections of the story, such as one-off anecdotes regarding neighbours and distant relatives, are digressive and add little in the way of plot, theme or mood. Such complaints notwithstanding, Ru marks the introduction of a talented voice.

Read Full Review of Ru: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for Ru
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 69 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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