The Boat, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


A dazzling, emotionally riveting debut collection: the seven stories in Nam Le's The Boat take us across the globe as he enters the hearts and minds of characters from all over the world. Whether Nam Le is conjuring the story of 14-year-old Juan, a hit man in Colombia; or an aging painter mourning the death of his much-younger lover; or a young refugee fleeing Vietnam, crammed in the ship's hold with 200 others, the result is unexpectedly moving and powerful.

This is an extraordinary work of fiction that takes us to the heart of what it means to be human, and announces a writer of astonishing talent




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A collection of short stories, vividly told and compelling, that add up to make something that’s more than the sum of its parts – a commentary on the human condition, the many nuances of our relationships with one another, and the global, multi-cultural world in which we live. The first story - Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice - was a delightfully rich and understated picture of a family who fled to Australia from Vietnam as boat-people; about the sacrifices parents make for their children and the pain parents and children cause each other; and about the stories we tell, why we tell them, and how they are received. This was followed by stories about a young South American assassin; a father hoping to meet his famous daughter, a cello prodigy, after 17 years; a young Australian lad with an ill mother; a Japanese girl in wartime Hiroshima; an American lawyer visiting a friend in Tehran; and a Vietnamese girl on a boat fleeing Vietnam. I really enjoyed the vivid and distinct narrative voices, and the rich pictures and lingering sadness evoked by each of these stories.

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