Here, again, Thuy gives a fascinating and delicately drawn exploration of the lives of Vietnamese refugees, the lives they must leave behind and the lives they create for themselves in a new and strange land, the struggles, the accommodations and compromises, the desire and effort to maintain their culture while learning to thrive in a new one. Yet Thuy manages to bring together these seemingly separate parts, joining them together with fully-realized characters, fascinating cultural references and, always, beautiful prose. The copy I read was a English translation by Sheila Fischman.
I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. One thing I like about Thuy's books is the shorter format which leads to condensed information. However, I feel that was executed better in her previous novel Man. I would have liked to have read more of Vi's story. As it is I think the life of Ha provided a better story line. Vi's life seems very chaotic with all the travel and experiences which has its pros and cons - on one hand it was hard to keep track of the when and where, yet on the o I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.
Vi's life seems very chaotic with all the travel and experiences which has its pros and cons - on one hand it was hard to keep track of the when and where, yet on the other I enjoyed the destinations and was able to vicariously immerse myself in the different cultures. Jun 12, Jo-Ann rated it really liked it Shelves: This author was born in Vietnam and came to Quebec when she was 10 years old. This story is set both in Quebec and Vietnam and offers a perspective on family, tradition and womanhood.
The protagonist's experience highlights the divergence between Western and Eastern culture and values. I read the book in French. It is very well written. Her writing style is very fluid and pleasing. I will read more books by this author. I did find the ending less than satisfactory because I wanted to know more abo This author was born in Vietnam and came to Quebec when she was 10 years old. I did find the ending less than satisfactory because I wanted to know more about Vi's life.
I guess I will have to read another book by this author. Unlike Kim Thuy's previous protagonists, I felt a much looser connection to Vi, the titular heroine of this story. Vi's story, as it unfolded, felt far less nostalgic and emotive than previous leading characters. Vi's recollections are often factual, with far too few memories wrapped up in the food preparation of previous work.
There is a storytelling method to this shift why write multiple books, after all, if each narrative will be treated the same? I felt less connected to this disconnected character, I found I liked her less than the women in Thuy's previous novels. But her storytelling, as always, transports and tessellates. This novella reads like a long, winding poem. It is emotionally pleasing, a satisfying balance of love and heartache. The sights, sounds, smells, tastes are ever present and I gained a continued lesson on the challenges faced by Vietnamese immigrants placing roots in Canada.
Although I would love to take each word, each sentence and digest it over time, it is a page turner that lingers long after the final word is read. Apr 20, Stephane Savoy rated it it was amazing.
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Le grand amour, pour lequel on donne tout. Mais elle l'exprime toujours sans toutes les effusions habituelles, et pourtant, pourtant! On en comprend toute la force!
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Je ne pensais jamais qu'un jour je m'endormirais exactement dans le creux de ce cou. Mar 29, Josiane Lambert rated it really liked it Shelves: Le seul hic, c'est trop court, j'en aurais pris encore! A very short book with jarring time changes and uneven writing.
Yet the social note may be detected in all, as a brief summary of their subjects will show. Dmne de Lys depicted the infidelity of a wife avenged upon her lover by her husband, and was meant to indicate the unprofitableness of a triangular alliance. RY DRA.
Less excellent were Un Pere prodigue , displaying the evil effects upon the son of loose living in the father, and VAmi des femmes , painting the portrait of a philanderer, who so far reforms as to suggest that mutual acceptance of responsibilities is the only basis for marriage. Havmg thus glanced at social or domestic questions, Dumas fils proceeded in his later dramas to enunciate his doctrines more distinctly.
In Les Idees de Madame Avbray , a mother, liberal and tolerant in theory, finds it difficult to hve up to her ideas in practice, refusing consent to her son's marriage with one whom she discovers to have had a lover and a child.
Finally she yields, on perceiving that the unfortunate is prepared to sacrifice herself, like Marguerite Gautier, in a spirit of devotion. In the brief and cynical comedy, Une Visite de noces , Dumas assailed adultery, somewhat equivocally, by showing a married man, tempted to revert to his former mistress on hearing that she has had other lovers, but losing interest in her as soon as he finds that she still is true to him.
Much better was Dumas' emotional drama. La Prin- cesse Georges , involving a wife's forgiveness of her husband's infidelity and her interposition to save his life from the outraged lord of her rival. Love, according to Dumas, is superior to passion, for where passion kills, love forgives. In La Femme de Claude , however, he inverted both the situation and the solution, exhibiting an inventor "damned in a fair wife" who would sell to a foreign foe his valuable secret, and corrupt through her charms his assistant.
If the law which unites a man to a wicked woman forbids - their divorce, then the husband may kill her, said Dumas, implying the need for divorce, whereas in La Princesse Georges he had opposed it. But the public and the critics condemned so rigorous a prescription of private ven- geance, objecting to the tue-la of the play and to the plead- ings of the playwright contained in his pamphlet, L'Homme-femme, issued the previous year.
Indulgence was again to the fore in M. Alphonse , in which a husband, learning of his wife's early error, condones it; while the father of her child schemes to marry for money a rich widow, and would evade all duty to his natural daughter. If Alphonse, the domestic "slacker", be duly rebuked, the heroine is here exoner- ated; she was right, we are told, to conceal her fault from her husband, since she had repented and reformed before marrying him.
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When Dumas was charged with inconsistency in approving Montaiglin's generosity toward Raymonde, he retorted that Montaiglin might have acted like Claude, had his Raymonde been a beautiful beast like Cesarine. Venal marriage was the target aimed at in UEtrangere , a poor melodrama which completes the tale of Dumas' contributions to the theatre for the 'seventies. In the first , a wife who finds herself tempted to forsake her weak husband for a rich and importunate lover is brought to her senses by the latter's rebuff of her child; it is the mother in Lionnette that rescues the wife.
In Denise , the heroine, seduced, deserted, and repentant, learns that her betrayer aspires to marry the sister of the man she now loves and would wed. Andre must be told of his sister's peril, even though Denise in warning him will be compromised by confess- ing her past. But Andre, instead of turning her off, forgives and makes her his wife.
Though the social code forbid such a union, still justice, benevolence, and religion approve it, says the raisonneur. Denise's father is wrong to demand, like the father of Sudermann's Magda, that the betrayer repair her honor with his tarnished name. Andre's sister is equally wrong to suggest that Denise retire from the world to a convent, as though life could hold nothing more for her after one slip. And Andre is wrong to think of dueling with his sweetheart's be- trayer, as though murder could make amends. In short, the woman with a past may yet have a future, provided that her heart be as tender as that of Denise, and the soul of her lover be as philosophic as that of Andre.
When she professes to have wreaked her revenge, her husband prepares to cast her off. Ac- cording to Dumas, a double standard of conduct for the sexes is inevitable, and a woman may not retaliate upon a man by doing what he does, — notions more grace- fully rendered in Henry Arthur Jones' Rebellious Susan.
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He will not be dis- honored by having had a mistress, but you will be dis- honored forever by letting him believe that you have had a lover. In his pieces written with others during the 'sixties and 'seventies, Dumas had dealt with similar problems, but from no fresh angle. In Le Supplies d'une femme , composed with Emile de Girardin, he anatomized the mind and moods of a wife, adoring her husband but persecuted by a lover, the father of her child. In Helcnse Faranquet , composed with Durantin, he studied the condition of a natural daughter made miserable by quarreling parents.
In Le Filleul de Pompignac , he showed a natural son becoming the rival in love of his father, who withdraws in favor of the youth and refuses to duel with the husband he has wronged, preferring to confess his fault and receive absolution. The first described the opposition of an aristocratic mother to her son's marriage with a Hberated serf, and her ulti- mate yielding, in the manner of Madame Aubray; the second depicted the return to the stage of an actress, unhappy in a titled marriage when deprived of her art.
One drama deriving from a novel by Dumas gained wide notoriety, V Affaire Clemenceau , by Armand d'Artois, the story of a sculptor beloved yet betrayed by his wife and slaying her. From this survey, it will be seen that, in spite of diver- gencies of doctrine from piece to piece, Dumas in general agrees to rail at certain abuses and to uphold certain ideals.
For him the deceived husband is no longer comic, as for Moliere. Woman, whom he never wearies of studying, he con- siders to be inferior to man. It is only the new woman against whom he would level his shafts, as in the preface to UAmi des femmes. Positively, Dumas upholds the marriage of love as contrasted with the marriage of interest.
He maintains the rights of the natural child. I entei'ed the world in a materialistic time; I am a realist. He labored with eyes closed ; I work with mine open. He turned from the world ; I identify myself with it. He designed ; I photograph. Even in Le Fits naturel there remained a certain glamour; and Dumas, in the preface to L'Etrangere, expressly declared, "The artist does not truly merit that name unless he idealizes the real that he sees, and realizes the ideal that he feels.
In technic, the dramas of Dumas were marked by their stress upon will even more than by their stress upon - observation. Herein he resembled Corneille. For this reason, in the preface to La Princesse Georges, he exalted the importance of the denouement. If your total is false, all your operation is wrong. I would even add that one should commence his piece at the denouement, that is to say, refuse to begin it until he has the scene, the action, and the words to be used at the end. One can- not tell how to proceed until he knows whither he is going. He urged that the spectator should be left no time to debate or question.
The piece must move with the celerity and certainty of a mathematical demonstration, a method later brought to perfection by Hervieu. The dramas of Dumas became more and more concen- trated, tending, for convenience, to observe the unities. Alphonse was confined to one day and one scene ; and throughout his theatre there was a focus- sing of every interest about a central theme, an economy of attention secured by well-timed entrances and exits and long and explicit speeches from a raisonneur.
In all technical matters. Scribe was his teacher. He was wont to declare that "The dramatic author who should know man like Balzac and the theatre Hke Scribe would be the greatest who had ever existed.