- Author: Kim Thuy
- Table of Contents: 113 vignettes longest: pp 110 ( 38 sentences ) and shortest: pp 143. ( 1 sentence).
- Book/Printing/Cover: I was captivated by the cover. It was taken by Angelo Cavalli,
- Published: 2009 ( English version published 2012)
- Timeline: April 30, 1975 communists enter Saigon, 1978 Kim Thuy is 10 years old and escapes with her parents from Saigon as boat people, present life in Canada
- Themes: memoires – mother’s love for her child
- ISBN: 9 782867 465321
- Place: Saigon Vietnam (renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975) , refugee camp in Malaysia, Granby, Quebec Canada
I had to search for the meaing of the title. I found Thuy’s explanation:
“In French, in old French — nobody uses it anymore — but it means a brook, a very small stream.” It’s pronounced differently in Vietnamese, she adds, and is commonly used by mothers to soothe their children. “It means a lullaby, or to lull your child to sleep, and I just thought it was such a beautiful word, a poetic word, but used every day.”
This book contains 113 vignettes, short graceful literary sketches. In each episode Kim Thuy gives us touching scenes of her journey from Saigon, Vietnam to Quebec, Canada. She can say only one phrase in English: “My boat number is KGO338”.
- I’m on page 15 of the original version (French) of Ru by Kim Thuy. It is stands out in it’s simplicity of language. She conveys so much feeling in a few rich yet concise words. Le livre est vraiment bien fait, à la fois riche et concis!
- As I turn the page I have to take a deep breath, ready for the next “coup de foudre.” ( lightning strike). page 62: ” ( ma mere)…elle a réussi à faire de moi un femme, mais jamais une princesse”. (My mother managed to make a woman out of me, but never a princess….)
- Thuy makes her writing sparkle with the use of antonyms, words that have opposite meanings! It was fun to pick them while reading.
- Ru won Canada’s Governor General’s Award, and has been published in 20 countries around the world,
- If page 17, 30, 45 do not touch your heartstrings, than I don’t know what will. More than once I felt emotional while reading about the love between the author and her mother and between Thuy and her own children
- This was an excellent book! I would highly recommend it.
- Thuy’s strong point is her ability to create “word pictures”. For example on pp 36 she describes er sandal falling into murky, muddy water. It did not sink. It floated like a rudderless boat.
- “Elle a plongé dans cette bouillie sans s’y enfoncer. Elle y flottait comme un bateau à la dérive.”
- Thuy’s writing style is simple not pretentious, terse not lush. It plucks the right heartstrings, has an uplifting message. It is a wonderful book to read for instance if you want to try reading in French. Don’t make the same mistake I made….and start with Mme Bovary by G. Flaubert. It took me 3 months to read it before my French language skills were up and running!