The Sea Of Trees by Yannick Murphy

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Synopsis

In her haunting first novel, Yannick Murphy surveys the landscape of imperialism through the unflinching gaze of an adolescent girl. Set in Indochina in the 1940s - well before American intervention - in the territory that is now Vietnam, it is narrated by the clear-eyed Tian, daughter of a French mother and Chinese father, who is taken prisoner when the Japanese invade Shanghai. The camp is a nightmarish place, where horror sometimes slips surrealistically into comedy as the prisoners watch for liberators to cross the sea of trees that separates them from freedom. Here it is women who become Tian's first allies, especially her passionate young mother and wily amah, who instill pluck, pragmatism, and an unbending will to survive. In a voice that rings with the startling frankness of youth, The Sea of Trees combines imagery both raw and beautiful. Based on stories from the author's own family history and laced with Chinese folklore, it adds a distinctly female contour to the map of empi
 

About Yannick Murphy

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Yannick Murphy is the author of the novels "Signed, Mata Hari"; "Here They Come"; and "The Sea of Tree"s, as well as two story collections and several children's books. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and a Chesterfield Screenwriting Award. Her work has appeared in "Best American Nonrequired Reading" and "The O. Henry Prize Stories". She lives in Vermont with her veterinarian husband and their children.
 
Published May 14, 1997 by Houghton Mifflin. 227 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction

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Tian's father joins the nationalist army while Tian goes by ship with the others back to Saigon--where another entire novel seems to unfold as the spunky Tian, turning 16, single-handedly supports her family (by translating for the French as they torture Vietnamese prisoners), nurses her mother t...

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The novel spans more than two decades, but Tian's parents age rather than mature over time, and the author presents Tian's own life story as secondary to that of her parents.

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