Ru

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Ru

by Kim Thuy
Translated by Sheila Fischman

Random House of Canada | January 17, 2012 | Hardcover

Ru is rated 3 out of 5 by 7.
A runaway bestseller in Quebec, with foreign rights sold to 15 countries around the world, Kim Thúy''s Governor General''s Literary Award-winning Ru is a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland.

Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow - of tears, blood, money. Kim Thúy''s Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy''s autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 160 pages, 9.28 × 5.92 × 0.82 in

Published: January 17, 2012

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307359700

ISBN - 13: 9780307359704

Found in: Fiction and Literature
Kim Thúy’s Ru is nothing short of exquisite – a beautiful and lyrically written book that quietly takes your breath away. Born at the moment of the Tet offensive into South Vietnam, a girl begins her life in “the shadow of skies shot through with rockets and missiles”. At the time of her birth her mother still dreamed that her new daughter might be a scientist, a politician, or a musician, but those dreams were quickly and terrifyingly quashed. Thúy takes us gently along on her unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded, muddy refugee camp and finally to a new life in Quebec. We follow the girl’s story as she adapts to a foreign land, feels the embrace of a new community and revels in the chance to be part of the American dream. As an adult, she builds her family anew, never forgetting all that has passed, her reservoir of adaptiveness called upon again as she learns to shape her love around her younger son’s autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder, its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy. Winner of the Governor General’s Award, Ru is at once a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland.

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed I had high hopes for this book but ended up being disappointed. I expected a story that would evoke some kind of emotion from me since twenty-something members of my family were also boat people and came to Quebec/US after the war but the story told in this book came off short and left me feeling indifferent. It could have been more elaborated instead of jumping from one short memory to another. It was a dreadful read for such a thin book.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ru Story Description: Random House of Canada|September 6, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-307-35970-4 Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow—of tears, blood, money. Kim Thuy’s Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy’s autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy. My Review: I thoroughly enjoyed the book but felt it was somehow ‘unfinished’. I really would have preferred to of had more detail in each section. I felt it lacked in detail and would have enhanced the story greatly if the author had of delved into the lives and experiences more deeply. I can only imagine though the difficulties and challenges one would encounter being a refugee coming from Vietnam to Quebec. Talk about a culture shock! Trying to raise an autistic child in a completely new world would be difficult at best and would present a myriad of challenges all on their own, challenges we probably couldn’t even begin to fathom, but the author handled it with grace. Overall, Ru was a most enjoyable experience.
Date published: 2013-09-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Troubling and troubled While I will admit that Ru is an important book, and I don't regret reading it, I think that it's importance overshadows how it's told. The story of a Vietnamese family that has fled the fall of their country to the communists is important. Their time as boat people and then adjustment to life in Canada is worth telling. But I think your average reader will look at this and wonder why it is told this way. The writing is beautiful, poetic.I am often suspicious of translations and Sheila Fischman has obviously lingered long on making sure the subtleties of Thuy's writing endear. But, what we have here are a series of vignettes, prose poems. Ultimately it's the smaller picture. The narrative jumps around in time and I can handle that, but I found that too often what's more important is only alluded to while instead a small story about an uncle's eccentricities is favoured. I found it powerful at times, but was disappointed that so little of the important tale was actually being relayed. It's a sure sign of distress when a short book feels like a long read.
Date published: 2013-09-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The river of thoughts/memories that make Nguyễn An Tịnh's life A simple book (translated from French) which is a collection of thoughts/reflections back on Nguyễn An Tịnh's life. You get to know her and her family as she grows up in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s, they fleeing to Manila and then immigrate to Canada where she lives in Montreal with her sons. She tells you of the important events of her life, the events than mean something to her - though seen as moments of reminiscing and some of insight to her past and why she is the way she is. Short and easy read.
Date published: 2013-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a gracious gem Such a gentle, wise, gracious, eye opening, respectful, insightful , enjoyable experience to read this absolutely delightful book. So few words tell such a powerful and poetic story, loved it!
Date published: 2012-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A truly wonderful read Kim Thúy’s Ru is nothing short of exquisite – a beautiful and lyrically written book that quietly takes your breath away. Born at the moment of the Tet offensive into South Vietnam, a girl begins her life in “the shadow of skies shot through with rockets and missiles”. At the time of her birth her mother still dreamed that her new daughter might be a scientist, a politician, or a musician, but those dreams were quickly and terrifyingly quashed. Thúy takes us gently along on her unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded, muddy refugee camp and finally to a new life in Quebec. We follow the girl’s story as she adapts to a foreign land, feels the embrace of a new community and revels in the chance to be part of the American dream. As an adult, she builds her family anew, never forgetting all that has passed, her reservoir of adaptiveness called upon again as she learns to shape her love around her younger son’s autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder, its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy. Winner of the Governor General’s Award, Ru is at once a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland.
Date published: 2012-05-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from "American Dream?" Re Indigo's book summary: It's a bit picky of me, I know, but since when is living in Quebec "living an American Dream". How about a "Canadian Dream?"
Date published: 2012-02-14

– More About This Product –

Ru

by Kim Thuy
Translated by Sheila Fischman

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 160 pages, 9.28 × 5.92 × 0.82 in

Published: January 17, 2012

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307359700

ISBN - 13: 9780307359704

About the Book

A runaway bestseller in Quebec, with foreign rights sold to 15 countries around the world, Kim Thuy's Governor General's Literary Award-winning Ru""is a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland.
Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow--of tears, blood, money. Kim Thuy's Ru""is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru""is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.

Read from the Book

I came into the world during the Tet Offensive, in the early days of the Year of the Monkey, when the long chains of firecrackers draped in front of houses exploded polyphonically along with the sound of machine guns.   I first saw the light of day in Saigon, where firecrackers, fragmented into a thousand shreds, coloured the ground red like the petals of cherry blossoms or like the blood of the two million soldiers deployed and scattered throughout the villages and cities of a Vietnam that had been ripped in two.   I was born in the shadow of skies adorned with fireworks, decorated with garlands of light, shot through with rockets and missiles. The purpose of my birth was to replace lives that had been lost. My life’s duty was to prolong that of my mother. My name is Nguyen An Tịnh, my mother’s name is Nguyen An Tinh. My name is simply a variation on hers because a single dot under the i differentiates, distinguishes, dissociates me from her. I was an extension of her, even in the meaning of my name. In Vietnamese, hers means “peaceful environment” and mine “peaceful interior.” With those almost interchangeable names, my mother confirmed that I was the sequel to her, that I would continue her story.   The History of Vietnam, written with a capital H, thwarted my mother’s plans. History flung the accents on our names into the water when it took us across the Gulf of Siam thirty years ago. It also stripped our name
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From the Publisher

A runaway bestseller in Quebec, with foreign rights sold to 15 countries around the world, Kim Thúy''s Governor General''s Literary Award-winning Ru is a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland.

Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow - of tears, blood, money. Kim Thúy''s Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy''s autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.

About the Author

KIM THÚY has worked as a seamstress, interpreter, lawyer and restaurant owner. She currently lives in Montreal where she devotes herself to writing.

Sheila Fischman is the award-winning translator of some 150 contemporary novels from Quebec. In 2008 she was awarded the Molson Prize in the Arts. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and a chevalier de l''Ordre national du Québec. She lives in Montreal.

Editorial Reviews

Heather’s Pick Winner 2011 – Grand prix littéraire Archambault Winner 2011 – Mondello Prize for Multiculturalism Winner 2010 – Prix du Grand Public Salon du livre––Essai/Livre pratique Winner 2010 – Governor General’s Award for Fiction (French-language) Winner 2010 – Grand Prix RTL- Lire at the Salon du livre de Paris Shortlist 2012 - Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist 2012 – Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation LONGLISTED 2013 – Man Asian Literary Prize LONGLISTED 2014 – International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award "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." —Governor General''s Literary Award jury citation “Gloriously, passionately, delicately unique….  A remarkable book; one that has well-earned every note of praise it has received.” — The Chronicle Journal   “Powerful and engaging.... In short entries that read lyrically and poetically—but also powerfully, pungently, and yet gently, dispassionately— Ru blends politics and history, celebration and violence within a young girl’s imaginative experience…. [I]ts hybri
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